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Dozens of Agencies Join Forces to Provide Resources for Those Affected by the EF2 Tornado in Iona

LEE COUNTY

On Saturday, dozens of agencies gathered in Lee County to help families affected by last week’s EF2 tornado. Many saw their homes destroyed in Iona along the McGregor Corridor.

Edward Murray is usually the one who helps others. But, on Saturday, Murray had to get some essentials after the EF2 tornado in Iona took everything from him. “Trying to find out what is available, to help us recover. Meeting very nice people who have done very wonderful things,” Murray said.

The Lee County Emergency Management Center opened on Saturday and officials there said they would stay open as long as needed. Sandra Tapfumaneyi is Lee County’s Director of Emergency Management. “WWe ask them about what kind of damage might have happened, do they have insurance that might cover some of that damage, and just try to address unmet needs with the resources we have here locally,” said Tapfumaneyi.

Inside, organizations like the Red Cross, United Way and the Lee County Tax Collector were all present. And outside was a distribution from the Harry Chapin Food Bank. The emergency management center has become like a one-stop shop.

Richard LeBer is the CEO of the Harry Chapin Food Bank. “Even if your food hasn’t been destroyed, when people take this kind of financial hit, often they try to save with their food budget, which makes it difficult for them to have enough food to feed themselves and feed their families,” LeBer said.

Carolyn Mijokovic wants to make sure everyone has what they need. That’s why she is a volunteer. “It’s almost like PTSD. You know, you are so shocked when you see it. And it doesn’t leave you. So you feel like you want to do something,” Mijokovic said.

Murray is grateful for the generous spirit of people like Mijokovic. “I feel a little weird being in the situation because usually I’m the one helping. But I feel a little strange. But I’m so happy, and I just hope God blesses everyone who was involved,” Murray said.

The most recent damage assessment indicates that all 74 homes were completely destroyed during the storm and 61 homes sustained significant damage. 58 other houses suffered minor damage.

The Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The temporary center is located at the Wa-Ke Hatcheee Recreation Center. No closing date has been announced at this time.

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