In 2010, a string of deadly tornados tore through Millbury, Ohio leaving very little to come to for Sandy and Bruce Tucker.
Life for retirees Sandy and Bruce Tucker in Millbury was tranquil. Their house sat in the midst of a heavy wooded area in a small town surrounded by the peaceful noise of nature.
“We thought that we had paradise,” Sandy says. “We live out in the deep woods very private,” Bruce adds. “You couldn’t even hear cars or trains.”
“My son called me,” Bruce says. “He said we needed to come home.”
While the couple was in Florida, a string of deadly tornadoes ripped through the quiet towns of Millbury, Lake Township, and other surrounding towns. The tornados destroyed almost everything in their path, including the wooded paradise the Tuckers called home.
“If we would’ve been home, we would’ve died,” Bruce says. “The house was 85 percent gone.” Sandy explained. Bruce and Sandy lost everything that day.
“We were bewildered,” Bruce remembers. “We were sort of like in a daze. We lived in motels and rented a house. We had to completely gut everything”
Rebuilding their home was a challenge and finding financial assistance to help clear debris was even more difficult.
“It was really hard to get assistance,” Bruce says. “Our insurance covered the house and its contents. Outside, it didn’t cover a thing.”
After weeks of recovery, the couple’s prayers for financial aid were answered through a divine message from God.
“We were in church one Sunday and we heard about Catholic Charities’ assistance for tornado victims.” Sandy says.
Sandy and Bruce contacted Catholic Charities and applied for financial assistance through the Disaster Relief program located in Mansfield, Ohio.
“About a month later we received money from Catholic Charities to use for stomp removal and tree clearance,” Bruce says.
With help from Catholic Charities, community volunteers and organizations, Sandy and Bruce were able to move back into their home November 2010. Now, the couple is back to hosting family gatherings and enjoying their new serenity of beautiful open fields left behind after the massive tree removal.
“My advice to others, It’s not the end of the world. It may look like but it’s not. It gets better day by day,” says Bruce.
Life after the devastating event has never been exactly the same for the couple. But the union of community volunteers and organizations like Catholic Charities has truly restored their faith in humanity.
“There are a lot of good people out there” says Richard. “We can’t say thanks enough.” Sandy adds.
After Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast in late October, Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo began collecting financial donations on behalf of Catholic Charities agencies in the east that are providing direct disaster relief.
The response has been tremendous. Within just two weeks of making an appeal through parishes, Facebook and media, Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo received $41,000 that was directed to these agencies.
The donations have been used to help individuals and families by providing food and water, shelter, clothing, medicine, transportation and temporary shelter. Donations are also being used for housing repair and home rebuilding.
“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the community,” says Rodney Schuster, Catholic Charities Executive Director. “The donations of people in the Diocese of Toledo will make a great impact in helping those whose lives have been disrupted by the hurricane. We continue to keep our brothers and sisters on the East Cost in our prayers as they continue the rebuilding process.”