I wanted to send this letter to the Switzerland County community expressing our gratitude for all of the assistance we received during our time of need.
On April 20th, at 1:15 a.m., an F1 tornado ripped the roof off our home on State Road 250, causing extensive damage to our entire house. Although we were only one of many families affected by that storm, I want to take a moment to express my thanks to the community, as well as several people who went above and beyond to assist us in our time of need.
Let me begin by expressing my gratitude to the Code Red program that has been set up for our area. (It is the Community Notification program informing citizens of watches and warnings for our immediate area.) If it had not been for the telephone call we received moments before the storm hit, I am scared to think of what could have happened. We received a phone call informing us to take shelter as a warning had been declared for our area. We did just that, and were able to wake our daughters and take shelter in the middle bathroom of the house.
As the tornado passed over us, ripping our roof off, banging, crashing everywhere, hail pounding at our windows, all we could think about was our two wonderful daughters and praying the Lord was not calling us home yet. If it had not been for that phone call from the Code Red system, someone could have been seriously hurt, possibly killed. Thank you for that wonderful program.
After the storm had passed, we notified the Sheriff that we had damage and they sent the Posey Township Fire Department. I was unaware at this time of the extent of damage; however I did see a piece of our roof on the back porch. When the Firefighters showed up, they assisted us in remaining calm and inspected the damage. They very politely explained that the entire rear half of the house’s roof was gone and we needed to vacate the property as it was not safe to have electric on due to the amount of water in the ceiling.
The Firefighters ensured we had a place to go, and even assisted us in collecting our two dogs while we loaded up to leave. They turned off the power to the house and did not leave until we were safely vacated. The Firefighters even offered to take us in at the firehouse if needed. I have never seen such consideration for a family in my life, taking the time to explain everything, all the while, call after call coming in for them to go to another emergency. I can’t thank them enough for their service.
We then went down to my wife’s grandfather’s house, Billy Don and Kathryn Turner in Patriot, where we stayed the night. Without hesitation, they took my entire family in. They put the girls to bed, and prepared the bed for us in their spare room. They are wonderful people and I can’t thank them enough for all they have done and continue to do for us.
That morning at 6:30 a.m., I notified the home builder, RS Home Sales, Rod Dickerson, who immediately jumped up out of bed and met us at the house. Without ever having gone through such an incident, I was unsure as to just about every aspect of what needed to happen and the processes in which it needed to be done. I knew we had to inform the insurance company as soon as possible, but after that, I was lost. Rod not only explained what needed to happen, but immediately gave my family a home to stay in while ours was being repaired.
He arranged for his staff to move the entire contents of my house to this new location, and did it within four hours to minimize the personal property damage. Within six hours, we had a place to stay, our personal belongings moved, and RS Homes had begun preparations to repair our home. Rod did not wait for the insurance estimate to come in, he simply began work without question. That is what I call integrity. He and his crew completed the entire rebuilding of our home in 20 days. In the TV show Extreme Makeover, Home Edition, it takes a crew of 70-plus to do that in seven days. RS Home Sales crew did it with six, in 20. In addition, they did it perfect.
I was there every day watching the progress, and there was not one joint that was not caulked and not one nail not driven. The entire staff at RS Homes is the hardest working, honorable people I have ever had the honor of meeting. After the home was rebuilt, the same crew moved us back into our home as if we had never left. Rod and his crew walked us through every aspect of this devastation, all the while ensuring we had everything we need.
I want to personally express my utmost appreciation to the entire staff of RS Home Sales. I would also like to personally thank Rod Dickerson for his patients in dealing with all of my questions and late night phone calls when I had concerns. He is an honest man who I would be proud to send my closest relative to if they needed a house built, or construction done.
Finally, I would like to thank all of our friends and neighbors who came by to check on our well being and ensured we had everything we needed. We had friends and neighbors from all around the area, come by offering food, clothes, and their assistance with anything we might have needed. This kind of generosity continues to prove to me why living in Switzerland County is the best place to raise a family. It is not often you see this kind of concern in any community these days, and I want to thank all of you. If it was not for the people in this community, I am not sure what would have happened or where we would be right now. My family and I are now back in our wonderful home, and beginning to get back into our routine. It is due to all of you that I can say that.
Thanks again to all of you.
Eric Stevenson, Michelle Davies and family
To the Editor:
This week being EMS Week I just wanted to share a few words. Thanks to all the EMS personnel in Switzerland County. We are fortunate to have so many talented people that take such good care of us. From the Firefighters and First Responders to the Drivers, EMTs, and Paramedics all are just the best. It is so good to see these people come together, put their differences aside and work as a team to help those in need. We are privileged to have a board of directors to oversee the business of Switzerland County EMS. Our current board is Dennis Cole, president; Brian Morton, vice president; Will Hutchinson, secretary/treasurer; Steve Crabtree and Lewis Fritter. Advisory board members are Jill Hutcherson, Jeff Darling, and chaplain Pat Lanman.
We couldn’t do it without the help of all the county fire departments. So thanks to Posey Township VFD, Moorefield VFD, East Enterprise VFD, Jeff-Craig VFD, and Patriot VFD. Our dispatchers are often overlooked but are the backbone of the 911 system. We are lucky to have the great dispatchers at the Switzerland County Sheriff’s Department. PHI Air Medical provides our community with a life saving service. The Switzerland County Commissioners and Switzerland County Council are to be thanked as well for making Switzerland County EMS possible.
The hospitals we deliver patients to are just wonderful to work with. Thanks to King’s Daughters’, Dearborn County, and Carroll County hospitals. A special thanks to Carroll County Hospital for being our supervising hospital and providing us with a medical director. Doctor Sherrelle Nunnelley is in charge of occupational medicine at Carroll County Hospital. He puts in countless hours to keep the medical part of Switzerland County EMS work well.
Last but not least the positive support we receive from the public is just wonderful. It takes more than one person or one department to make Switzerland County EMS work. It takes a whole community. It takes teamwork, dedication, selflessness, and grit to make an Emergency Medical System successful. All of these people and departments have one thing in common, compassion and the desire to help those in need. Thanks again to everyone who makes Switzerland County EMS a success. Have a safe and happy EMS Week. God bless all of you.
Randy See, Director
Switzerland County EMS