Local News

Volunteers tackle tornado cleanup in Apex neighborhood

Posted April 23, 2011 9:53 p.m. EDT
Updated April 23, 2011 11:01 p.m. EDT

— A week after tornadoes ripped through central and eastern North Carolina, some hard-hit neighborhoods were still waiting for cleanup and recovery.

In Apex, Lucky Drive was one of them – until Saturday, when hundreds of volunteers cleared fallen trees, limbs and other debris to help residents get back to normal.
"This is my duty, my obligation to serve others, to give back, to serve our community," said volunteer Kyle Hamstra. "The teamwork here is a beautiful thing."
Residents were grateful for the extra hands. 
"(There were) tons of trees," said Lucky Drive homeowner Sherri Jones. "(It was) more than we could do in probably eight months on weekends by ourselves."
Saturday was the first time Jones had returned to the area to see the damage to her home. She said she was touched by seeing strangers in her backyard, working to clean up and welcome her back home.

"It's a blessing that there's still good people out there and that people are willing to roll up their sleeves and do whatever they need to do to help," Jones said.
Volunteer Mike Gaither said he knows first-hand why helping people he's never met is the right thing to do. 
"My brother went through Andrew. I went through Fran. With Fran, I had over 200 trees down in my yard. My brother, he lost his house and everything down there with Andrew," Gaither said. "He lived two miles outside the Everglades and they didn't get any help."
Gaither, who recently had rotator cuff surgery, didn't hesitate to pick up a chainsaw and help out.
"I'm doing this because I want to. It's just me," he said.