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'We are for Elkhorn:' Why the Relevant Center stepped in after Friday's storm

Elkhorn Tornado Damage
Posted at 7:12 PM, May 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-03 20:48:02-04

ELKHORN, Neb. (KMTV) — "I could hear things breaking, I thought it was trees breaking. I did not realize it was houses being ripped apart," said Ronnie Rothe, lead pastor at Relevant Community Church.

Rothe also lives just across the street near 210th and Maple.

"I just walked from my house, and I walked around the neighborhood, and I'm like holy crud," Rothe said.

Within minutes he was at Relevant Church.

"The tornado hit the edge of our property so the neighborhood just west of us, destroyed, north of us, destroyed,” Rothe said.

And knew being so close to it all, they needed to be there for their neighbors.

"As a church we say all the time, we are for Elkhorn, well Elkhorn, our literal neighbors’ houses were destroyed, what can we do," Rothe said.

With no experience in disaster relief, the Relevant Center team has coordinated donations coming in, volunteers showing up, businesses bringing food and all the personal items that have been found.

"I told my wife last night like, if the only reason we started Relevant 15 years ago was for this week, I was okay with that," Rothe said.

Since Saturday, Omaha Rapid Response has based its command center here.

But the command center is moving. It will be at Bethany Lutheran Church just down the street.

Starting Saturday morning that is where all their volunteers should go. That's also where all personal belongings that have been found will go for now.

Donation drop off is moving too. Christian Outreach Program of Elkhorn and Heartland Hope Mission's Crisis Response centers will be accepting donations going forward.

Christian Outreach Program of Elkhorn:
20601 Elkhorn Drive

Heartland Hope Mission locations:
15555 Industrial Road
2021 U Street

Ronnie says right now, totes, bins, phone chargers, batteries, everyday necessities are needed.

But also, money and gift cards.

Despite the change in location, Ronnie says Relevant Church is committed to being a resource to their neighbors for the days, weeks, and months ahead.

"People should have hope in our community, and our city, and our world, because of what we are seeing happen when things like this happen,” Rothe said.

The Relevant Center will continue to keep their website updated with needs in the community. Visit the website for more information at