Niles community counting blessings post-tornado, Red Cross standing by to help

NOW: Niles community counting blessings post-tornado, Red Cross standing by to help
NILES, Mich. -

It's been almost 72 hours since a tornado hit Niles and the surrounding areas, and the community is still trying to get their lives back to normal.  They're getting through each day, with the help of each other, and the Red Cross.

"Things started hitting our window,s and then smashing through them," remembers Lynn Labar.  "We went and hid against an inner wall. And when it was over, we went outside and could not believe the devastation."

Labar still cannot believe what happened to her home, and her community, Tuesday night.

The tornado, ripping through Niles and the surrounding areas, leaving destruction in its path, in just a two-minute time span. 

"It was raining in my house. The ceiling and the roof were gone," adds Labar.

She, like so many others, have spent the last couple of days picking up the pieces.  The pieces of debris, roofs, ans trees that lay everywhere.

The pieces of their homes.

"Our roof is gone, we have damage to all of the ceilings in our home. All of the walls, and all of the floors," says Labar. "Every room in the house has to be redone. Top to bottom."

But she's trying to stay positive and counting her blessings.

"I'm grateful to be alive. I'm grateful for insurance," she says.

Blessings, like the resources that she, and others, can rely on to help.

Resources like the Red Cross.

"I'm going to the Red Cross because, with our refrigerator not working for two days, we lost all of our food," Labar explains. "I just need something."

Red Cross workers walked to every home in this neighborhood on 15th Street, offering assistance to anyone who may need it.

"We work with them as best we can, seeing what their needs are, and seeing what we can do to help them," says Betsy Vanderburg.

Vanderburg is the Disaster Action Team Leader, and is shocked to see the devastation.

"It's always amazing to see what Mother Nature can do," she explains. "To see the trees that are actually blown over. How big they are, and uplifted at the roots." 

While Mother Nature can be unpredictable and frightening, Labar has faith that tomorrow will be better.

"Just be grateful for what you have. Know that tomorrow is going to come, and you're going to make it," she says. 

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