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'Waterloo is Waterloo': Volunteer Fire Department talks about response efforts to April's tornadoes.

Posted at 5:51 PM, May 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-10 18:51:07-04

WATERLOO, Neb. (KMTV) — Like many neighbors, volunteer fire Lieutenant Max McKeever calls Waterloo home.

He was on the ground right after the tornado ripped through Waterloo.

"It's surreal to see all the damage and devastation as you first pull out of your town... That's right on the outside of where you live, where you work," McKeever said. "You come home every day and it's pretty wild to see that."

McKeever and the rest of the department initially started going door-to-door throughout Waterloo, making sure neighbors were safe. Throughout the two weeks, the department has helped clean up debris from people's yards and try to help find belongings.

"It's kind of humbling to be able to go home to your own house that has electricity, that has water, and you don't have to worry about where you'll have to go for the next few months," he said.

For Chief Travis Harlow, it's personal. Beyond his crew of volunteers, seeing his whole community banding together to help one another in such hard times.

"Waterloo is Waterloo," Harlow said. "Not only in our community, but it shows the resilience and what people can do."

"You may not have conversation with everybody everyday, but in the end everyone comes together to help each other out," he said.

Harlow and McKeever said they're proud of their team and hope their work can make a difference in the community where they work, live and serve.

"I'm in a position to help make someone's life better, someone's day better," McKeever said. "At the very least, they might be going through some tough times, but at least we're there for a shoulder to cry on or a hug to give back. That's what makes it worth it."

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