Army Aids Salt Lake Tornado Victims
by Valerie larabeE –
Salvation Army officers and volunteers are assisting disaster victims in the aftermath of a freak tornado that ripped a “surgical line” through downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, recently.
The tornado cut a three-mile swath through downtown Salt Lake City and surrounding neighborhoods, with winds gusting between 113 and 157 mph. Hitting without warning, the tornado killed one person and 85 were treated for injuries. Preliminary damage was estimated at more than $150 million.
The Salvation Army mobilized immediately following the strike. “We were there at the very beginning and had the crisis call center up and running less than 60 minutes after the tornado hit,” stated Major Wayne Froderberg, Salt Lake area commander. “During the first 24 hours of the crisis, we fielded over 1400 calls from concerned family members and friends across the country.” The Army’s Salt Lake offices are just six blocks from the path of the tornado.
In addition to the call center, Army staff members and volunteers set up canteens where food, bottled water and compassionate support were provided for victims, emergency personnel and law enforcement agencies involved in the disaster. In support of the Salt Lake clean up, Salvation Army friends and supporters from Denver, Colo., sent supplies, workers and a mobile feeding kitchen to help their Salt Lake neighbors. More than 400 meals are being provided daily.
“The Salvation Army is able to respond because of the understanding and support of many invaluable volunteers,” said Intermountain Divisional Comman-der Lt. Colonel Harold Brodin. “We have received great encouragement and support from the community, and believe our ministry and practical help are the key elements in the recovery process.”
Just two days after the tornado, the Army and it’s volunteers extended their efforts to help homeowners in the affected neighborhoods struggling with various degrees of destruction. More than 215 homes were damaged or destroyed. Froderberg added, “We really have mobilized an army to help those in need. Even the clients in our adult drug and alcohol treatment program are out there to help neighbors restore their homes and properties. I’m very proud of our employees, soldiers and volunteers.”