Story by Scott Morton
Amid the uprooted trees, downed telephone poles, and branches and debris still piled around her neighborhood lives 88 year-old Margarethe Rosa Reb. She was in her Kentwood home on the night of July 6 when an EF1 tornado cut through Kentwood, Wyoming, and southeast Grand Rapids leaving six people injured and hundreds of homes damaged.
The tornado struck at 10:20 that night knocking out Reb’s electricity along with about 20,000 other Consumers Energy customers. Reb says she never thought she’d experience a twister. To this day she hasn’t actually seen one since the tornado struck at night.
“I was sitting by the table and all of the sudden the lights went out and I got a flashlight,” she says. “I got dressed in case anything happened because I had my night gown on…all I heard was a whoosh going through.”
The next morning at day break, she and her grandson Nick walked around the three bedroom house to see the storm damage.
“It was a mess. It was terrible!” Reb added. “You couldn’t see over to the next house there were so many branches and leaves piled up.”
Later that morning, two American Red Cross volunteers visited Reb and provided her with food, cleaning supplies, financial assistance and, best of all, someone to talk with.
“The Red Cross was really helpful. God bless them all!”
A few days later Reb’s power returned. The day that she spoke with us about her experience a cleanup crew for the damage around her home was finishing up for the day.
Reflecting on the experience, the long-time widow puts the ordeal in perspective.
“It was kind of scary, but I’ve been through worse!”
Still, she says the fact that two American Red Cross volunteers checked on her and provided aid makes her thankful to this day.
“I never thought people would be so nice. I never thought I’d meet so many nice people. They were right there!”
You can help people like Margarethe affected by disasters like floods, fires, tornadoes, and hurricanes by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. To make a financial contribution, visit redcross.org/donate, text REDCROSS to 90999, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.