Day One

Confusion, devastation in Monson

Updated: Thursday, 02 Jun 2011, 6:13 AM EDT – Jacqueline Jing

“MONSON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Tornadoes hit about 19 communities here in Western Mass, and buildings on Main Street in Monson were ripped apart.

Wednesday’s tornado tore up Monson Center. Dozens of buildings were ripped apart. The destruction is unbelievable.

People who live in this small town cannot believe a twister touched down…”

It was an event no one expected – but disbelief did not make it any less real. At 5pm on June 1st, 2011, a tornado turned our world upside down, tearing the roof from our house, destroying streets of homes downtown, and splintering large trees.

I spent the first few hours after the storm trying to get in touch with family and guiding groups of people over a tangle of downed trees behind our house to avoid wires and transformers burning in the street.

Just a few days later, my sister Morgan, myself, Wendy Deshais, Ted Sisley, Ed Harris, Lyn, Pastor Bob Maroni, Karen King and a troop of incredibly hard-working volunteers were piecing together a successful and organized community based disaster relief effort.

We weren’t experts in disaster relief, but we were experts in related areas: campaign organization, local community, databasing, logistics. Monson is recovering, and we would like to make sure other communities are able to do so as well.

Caitria O’Neill 


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