Parkersburg Bounces Back

By Mark Geary, Reporter


By Mark Geary

PARKERSBURG – A tornado destroyed or damaged at least 400 homes in Parkersburg back in May.

Now, nearly half of those houses are getting rebuilt. Just about everywhere you look, you seen signs of new construction.

The community organized a fall festival Thursday evening to celebrate how far they've come over the past few months. It was a chance for everyone to take their minds off the disaster and have a little fun.

By the looks of the party, you'd never know what everyone has been through.

"When we were planning this and picked the date, we had people from the community say, 'We are so ready for this. We just really need something like this where we can just have fun and enjoy,’” organizer Susan Sivola said.

Organizers served up food and raffled off prizes to help the local schools recover from the disaster. Many adults and children had so much fun, they forgot about the least for a little while.

"You look around and there's plenty of people I don't know that don't know me. But, it feels like a big church family,” Parkersburg resident Mark Haren said.

Amanda Timmer's home blew away in the tornado. Her family just finished rebuilding and they all moved back in late last week.

"The first night we all slept in one bed because I think we were all so used to sleeping together,” Timmer said.

Other families, like the Harens, are just starting the construction process.

"I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I'm trying to get there now,” Haren said.

Everyone here knows the town will never be the same after the disaster. But, if the rebuilding goes as planned, future generations will remember Parkersburg for family events like this...not for the tornado.

The event raised two-thousand dollars for the town. The Royal Neighbors Non-profit organization donated an additional one-thousand dollars as well. That group is also going to help rebuild one family's home.

If you'd like to nominate someone who needs a new house in Parkersburg, call 800.627.4762

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