High winds and tornadoes caused major damage all over Sarpy County Friday night. On Sunday, many were still without power, but neighbors helped each other get through the next few days.
“We received building damage. We received – our fencing - lot of fencing is ruined. We have trees that need to come down. We have volunteers out right now, hauling, chipping, cutting right now,” said Craig Denherder, future director of the Town and Country Humane Society.
The shelter, which sits just south of Papillion, suffered extensive damage at the hands of the storm. But they found hope in their community.
“We had probably 2,000 people volunteer yesterday. Somebody brought out, donated a chainsaw. Somebody donated a chipper that we're using right now. People brought food, water, everything. We had an outpour of volunteers,” said Denherder.
“We’ve adopted actually two dogs from this shelter, and they’ve just been fantastic helping us adjust with our dogs and making sure they had everything they needed. So we just wanted to give back,” said volunteer Janette Loyselle.
Cars were buried under debris and power lines are still down. The animals have no light except for their outside access, and no place to run around as the horse corral and dog park need new fences.
“We actually need people to help with the dogs, too. To take care of the dogs while we’re working on this. ‘Cuz actually most of the volunteers help with the dogs on a day like this,” said Denherder.
As the shelter runs on an electric well, water donations are also sorely needed.
In Bellevue, one of the areas hardest hit by the storm, St. Mary’s is opening up their hearts and their parish, to people who have lost their homes or are still without power.
“We come here to get snacks, like snacky-doos. Charge our phones, the batteries, portable chargers. It’s really nice, the air-conditioned [sic]. Everybody’s super happy here. It’s like a really welcoming place,” said visitor Jacqueline Van Huffel. She and her family have been without power since Friday.
St. Mary's says they have seen a few dozen people come in since yesterday to cool down or grab a bite. Today, Roma’s donated a spaghetti and meatball lunch.
“The people that came yesterday were very, very needy. They had lost everything, and we were happy to be able to feed them and give them water and send them in the right direction,” said Angela Bennett, a parishioner and volunteer.
St. Mary’s says they plan to be open tomorrow for a few hours in the afternoon. They are also taking cash donations that will go to people in need.