Residents of Harveyville, a town devastated Feb. 28 by an F-2 tornado, are getting some special help from a group of 1st Sustainment Brigade soldiers who visited their community recently.
Durable Brigade soldiers visited Harveyville in Wabaunsee County last week to discuss ways they could help their partner community rebuild. The sustainment soldiers also delivered several truckloads of donated food, clothes and household items.
“When the tornado came through, and knowing it was in Wabaunsee County, the first thought I had in my mind was that we have to do something,” said Maj. Antionette Chase, projects manager, 1st Sustainment Brigade.
Chase organized a disaster relief project within the brigade and set out boxes with signs asking for donated goods to help the Harveyville community.
People passing by the boxes were able to donate items and Chase, along with other sustainment soldiers, took the items to the disaster relief locations.
“For most people, if you just give them a way, they will help and volunteer so I decided to put the resources and planning together to give our soldiers a way to support this,” said Chase.
The disaster relief supplies donated by Durable Brigade soldiers and families emphasize the importance the brigade places on its partnership Wabaunsee County, according to Chase.
“The partnerships that the units have with the local community (cannot) just be words or thoughts; they have to be reinforced with deeds,” she said. “A lot of times it’s hard because of military regulations that govern what active duty military can do but everybody can volunteer their time.”
Wabaunsee County resident Delaine Traphagan said she was in her home in Harveyville when the tornado hit.
“The weather was eerie outside and the next thing you know, this huge wind came up,” she said. “There were a lot of people in shock because we had no warning; no alarms, no news, nothing.”
Traphagan, who has lived in Harveyville for 13 years, said about 60 houses were hit and about 28 have been demolished. She said since she wasn’t affected by the tornado as severely as her neighbors were, she volunteered to help with the disaster relief.
“We had damage from the wind but it didn’t do the devastation that it did to the other houses,” she said.
Traphagan said volunteers have announced disaster relief information at town meetings, posted signs all over the community and developed a website with information for those in need. The website is updated with supplies that have been donated and where they are available.
She added that any Harveyville citizens are welcome to the donated supplies and just need to contact one of the several disaster relief centers for help.