The day after an EF2 tornado tore through portions of Excelsior Springs, neighbor started helping neighbor, bringing the community together to help those impacted.
Rep. Doug Richey, who also serves as a Chaplin for the Clay County Sheriff’s Department said after touring much of the damage, the spirit of Excelsior encouraged him.
“It’s just amazing when you see neighbors banding together and the community coming together to help people clear debris and pick up memories from their front yards, crying together, feeding each other,” he said.
The community coming together in spite of the storm encouraged him, Richey said.
Cap. Will Akin, emergency management director with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, said portions of Washington School Road received the most damage. Red Cross came out Tuesday evening to assist one couple after officials declared their home to be a total loss.
Throughout the day on Wednesday, friends and family showed up to help the homeowners who rode out the storm in a concrete room that once housed their daughter’s closet. Just a husband, his wife and their dog.
Beside a destroyed living room, a curio cabinet still held its undamaged, fragile contents. Crosses still hung on the walls, untouched by the storm.
Their neighbors suffered damage to their home including roof damage and flooding throughout the house. A friend, finding a leaning porch post, called the homeowners lucky their porch still stood.
These homeowners were not home during Tuesday’s storm. One remained at work while the other went to his mother-in-law’s home just 10 minutes prior to the tornado reaching their property. Although the storm destroyed their barn, its lone occupant survived the storm. Jack the donkey now walks with a limp, but he’s alive. The homeowners said they all survived, that’s all that matters.
They will call a tree specialist out to see if their large tree, with its roots partially showing from the storm, can be saved.
The storm uprooted three of Gary Shepard’s trees on his property on Old Quarry Road. His grandchildren loved to play on one of the trees. He said he recently noticed the berries growing and mentioned to his wife how the kids will love to eat them soon.
A disabled Vietnam veteran, Shepard said he doesn’t know how he will remove the damaged trees from his property. His son will help, he said, but he does not know of anyone else who can assist.
John and Becky Griffin received damage to their roof. The storm also uprooted and damaged some of their “big, beautiful trees.”
One such tree fell on their shed, causing extensive damage.
Thankfully the tornado rose off the ground when it reached the neighborhood, he said. Otherwise, they would have lost their home.
The neighbors at Watkins Mill Meadow immediately came together to help those with damage. The Griffin’s neighbor boy crawled on the roof with his friends, tarping the damage. The Clay County emergency workers helped clear a large tree that blocked the road Tuesday evening after the storm. Neighbors came out to help clear trees Wednesday morning.
Thankfully, John said, the storm did not injure any of his neighbors.
“(I’m) just still in shock,” he said. “Nobody was hurt, that’s the grace of God, nobody was hurt.”