Lake resident helping victims of tornado

Staff writer

A Salvation Army officer from Marion is among many relief workers helping Eureka residents in the aftermath of Thursday night’s EF-2 tornado, with winds 111 to 135 mph.

Major Richard Forney and his wife, Judy, who retired to Marion County Lake, are interim ministers for El Dorado’s Salvation Army Corps. Since the tornado, he has been driving between Marion and Eureka On Saturday, he drove the El Dorado Corps canteen – a mobile feeding and hydration unit – to Eureka to help displaced Eureka residents and relief workers.

Forney also is working with a Crisis Intervention Stress Management team. CISM provides debriefing, counseling, and help with developing plans to recoup and move forward after the crisis.

“After a major crisis, bad things can happen,” Forney said.

Those include suicides, homelessness, financial difficulties, and a host of other things, Forney said.

Forney described uprooted trees and damaged or destroyed homes and businesses.

Greenwood County Emergency Management said on Saturday that 143 structures had been damaged. Among them were homes, a nursing home, businesses, and outbuildings.

In addition to non-profit and government agencies, others have come.

“There are a lot of volunteer teams,” Forney said.

Volunteers have cut up and removed downed trees, removed debris, and tarped over roofs.

“A lot of places, there’s nothing left,” Forney said.

Utility workers have been busy restoring power.

“They have a lot of work to do – a lot of, lot of work to do,” Forney said.

Residents are being advised to be careful about people claiming to represent insurance companies or contractors.

“The Salvation Army is going to be there until they are not needed,” Forney said.

Major David Harvey, secretary for the Salvation Army Kansas and Western Missouri division, said Sunday that the clearing of trees and debris was moving along and the focus was on getting people into homes and providing assistance with immediate needs.

Where possible, people are returning to their own homes. Otherwise, they are being assisted in finding places to stay. Harvey said 20 homes had major damage and 28 were destroyed.

Gift cards and vouchers to Salvation Army thrift stores allow victims to get what they need.

“We’ve had people in need, people who have insurance and people who have absolutely none,” Harvey said.

Harvey expects canteens to continue serving food and water through this week.

One resident told Harvey that she was “on the edge of depression” after a room of her house was destroyed, but when she saw other people helping her, she and her children decided to get out and help as well.

No injuries were reported in the town of 2,633.

Donations with “Eureka” in the memo line are being accepted at Salvation Army, 141 N Gordy St, El Dorado, KS 67042.

Last modified July 14, 2016

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