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Neighbors Pay It Forward After Kentwood Tornado

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KENTWOOD, Mich. (July 27, 2014) — Driving down 52nd Street in Kentwood Monday, you can see shingles littering lawns, damaged roofs, fences blown blocks away, and even cars totaled without leaving the driveway.  However, the residents around here aren’t looking for sympathy, they are already hard at work.

“If you leave it in utter destruction and if that’s what you look at then it’s going to be hard to have a positive attitude. We felt like getting out here and cleaning it up and making a difference,” said homeowner Cory Sackett.

This is Sackett and his wife’s first home. They got up this morning ready to clean up everything they could, but they received some unexpected, but welcome help.

“You know it’s funny we probably met about six or seven neighbors we haven’t met in the four years we lived here. It stinks it took this to meet people, but it’s always nice. Just neighbors helping neighbors,” said Sackett.

Andrew Reed, a homeowner next door, felt the same type of community healing.

“I had several people I don’t even know come into my yard and start lifting stuff. I’m like who are you? And they just come over and say our house wasn’t damaged and we wanted to help,” said Reed.

Andrew Reed had his roof almost stripped form his home, and some window screens blown out. Still, he found it hard to hide a smile with so much support rallying behind him. He says helping each other out is just what neighbors do.

“First thing we did last night is we came out and made sure the neighbors were safe,” he said.

An overwhelming and daunting task for any homeowner to rebuild what they spent thousands of hours and money turning into what they call ‘home’.

“What do you do? Mother Nature happens and the nicest thing about it is we all came together,” says Reed.

If you ask these families, the damage is temporary, and not even the strongest winds can keep them down.

Some tree removal services we talked to today said they have been inundated with calls. They weren’t even sure if they would get to everything today.

A lot of the homeowners are removing their trees themselves, because they don’t want to wait. The biggest problem they are having is they aren’t sure where to bring the excess branches and wood they chop up.

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