Red Cross shelter in Kokomo is the epicenter of relief in Kokomo

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KOKOMO,  Ind. - The Indiana Department of Homeland Security says about 20 homes were destroyed 18 homes had major damage and thousands are still without power in Kokomo. The Red Cross shelter is providing food and a place to stay for hundreds that have been forced from their homes and has become the epicenter of relief here in Kokomo. Food and essentials are pouring in and volunteers are doing whatever they can to help.

Wednesday’s storm affected thousands of lives from seniors to those who are only weeks old. New mother, Sherry Thatcher is thankful her one month and one day old son Montana won’t remember the tornado that hit Kokomo Wednesday. “He slept through everything. This is my first time having to deal with something like this,” said Thatcher. Their Gateway Apartment has no power and the Red Cross shelter on Reed Road is their new temporary home. For Sherry’s friend Candace, the future is uncertain. “Knowing that my daughter and I have nothing to go back to is very hard. We have to rebuild our lives again,” said Candace Cook. The tornado destroyed Candace’s Gateway apartment. “We have nothing to go back to,” said Cook.

Candace was babysitting Montana when the storms broke out. She along with 5 year old daughter Phoenix were fortunately not in the apartment at the time. “It wiped out the whole entire roof and then all the rain that came in collapsed the apartment above us and fell into our apartment But something told us to leave at 10 o’clock in the morning,” said Cook. They found shelter from the storm at the Trolley Station. After a short time Candace and the children met up with Montana’s mother, Sherry.

“We all made it out alive and we’re here today because of the grace of God,” said Cook. The Red Cross shelter is providing food and a place to stay for about 225 people. A pet shelter has also been set up on site to encourage those who need a safe place to stay to come here without leaving their pets behind.

“As we learned from Katrina, a lot of people did not go the shelter and stayed out in the elements because they were not allowed to bring their pets. Now that has changed,” said AKC shelter organizer and Executive Director Tom Ecker with Madison County Homeland Security.

Meantime, Candace is grateful to have a place to stay, but the difficulties of what happened are not far from her mind. “It’s complicated and its hard especially when your emotions are shot and you’ve gotta worry about your child or yourself being in here. I just try to help everybody else and stay positive cause that’s all we can do,” said Cook.

Governor Mike Pence visited with those staying here at the shelter earlier Thursday. He thanked the volunteers who are here working and those dropping off food and other items for those in need.

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