Hundreds volunteer to clean up Andover tornado

ANDOVER, Kan. (KSNW) – Since the tornado hit Sedgwick County and Butler County on Friday night, many people have asked how they can help.

On Monday, the town of Andover invited volunteers to join The United Methodist Church. People were already queuing as soon as they opened at 10 a.m. Monday. The line stretched through their building and down the hall. Some waited over an hour to register.

“The community is behind these people, and we’re all stepping up to help and do what we can,” said volunteer Roger King.

Organizers say more than 200 people have signed up to volunteer.

“It’s pretty powerful, and I think it shows how strong and committed our community is to each other, and I’m really proud to be a part of it,” said volunteer Jon Kimball.

Many people online knew it could have affected them.

“The tornado was literally 1/8th of a mile from my house. It narrowly missed our neighborhood, but it did affect neighborhoods close to us,” said Andover resident and volunteer Tim Smay.

As soon as the tornado hit, Lori and Patrick Loney knew they couldn’t sit still.

“We knew we could deploy with the Red Cross, so we immediately called Jaimie and said, ‘We’re ready,'” Lori said.

The couple have been volunteering with the Red Cross since 2020. On Monday, they loaded up the emergency rescue vehicle and loaded it with food, drink and supplies. They hit the road to reach the affected communities.

“We have never experienced anything like this. You always see the aftermath of a tornado, flood or whatever. But to really go out and help people, talk to them, give them food, reassure them that people are there to help,” Patrick said.

The Loneys give people hope while hoping others will join them.

“The most important thing is to be able to say hello, we are going to help some people who are suffering,” said Patrick.

“When you manage to help someone, you are selfless. So I think that’s why we need to be here,” Lori said.

If you’re interested in volunteering, people will meet at Andover United Methodist Church at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, May 3. Volunteers will then be given official assignments and begin to work.

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