Saturday, April 10, 1999

Survivors eager to swap stories

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Marjorie and James Glenn were in the minority Friday.

        They were one of only a handful of storm victims at a makeshift shelter at the Sycamore Junior High School, where 350 volunteers and rescue workers gathered.

        Rescue organizers speculated that the shelter didn't fill up because storm victims headed for relatives' and friends' homes — or hotels paid for by their homeowners' insurance.

"Time to get up'
        The Glenns, who live in Leesburg, Fla., were in Montgomery visiting their daughter, Julie Stiffler, 53, and grandchildren Kenny and Lindsey.

        The family's condominium suffered little damage besides broken windows, but emergency crews evacuated the neighborhood to check for potential structural problems.

        “We woke up to rain and fog and glass blowing in our faces,” said Mr. Glenn, 77. “We decided then that it was time to get up.”

        “There was no teeth- brushing, no hair-combing and no face-washing this morning,” added his 76-year-old wife.

        The storm created such a vacuum that she was sucked out the bedroom door and then stumbled down the stairs when she tried to flee to the condo's basement, Mrs. Glenn added.

        Like the Glenns, the other evacuated residents who came to the temporary shelter at the junior high on Cooper Road and another at Christian Hills Academy in Sycamore Township seemed eager to share their stories of survival.

        Equally talkative were the volunteers, many of whom said they felt driven to help because of their fortune in escaping injury and damage.

        “I was so glad I didn't get hit that I wanted to come here and help out,” said Ivory Laibson, a Sycamore High School student. “It's kind of scary, this being so close to home.”

"A helping hand'
        Sycamore High junior Scott Miller added: “I drove by the devastation and I knew people needed a helping hand.”

        Restaurants and supermarkets donated food for storm victims. Nurses worked with Red Cross volunteers to get medication from pharmacies for evacuees who forgot needed prescriptions at home.

Classroom a refuge
        Dan Mirus, a seventh-grade math teacher at Sycamore Junior High, offered his classroom as a peaceful refuge from the chaotic cafeteria that served as shelter headquarters.

        “This is my school, and this is my community,” said Mr. Mirus, who lives a mile away from the school.

        By Friday evening, 72 people were at the shelter at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. The shelters will remain open through the weekend.


Hope emerges from the rubble
Sirens worked, but some slept through
Families flew from their beds
Bengals coach: 'God's hand on me'
Driver got upside-down trip on freeway median
Photographer encounters death, devastation
House is a cheap price to pay for life
Community safe, serene and vulnerable
In Addyston and Ripley County, some feel blessed just to be alive
- Survivors eager to swap stories
Two died in field; two died on roads
Adjusters quick to arrive at disaster
To file a claim
Dealing with storm aftermath
Don't rush repairs after storm
Tips to picking a contractor
Kids need help to overcome grief, fears
Talking to kids
Phones, power out until Sunday
Rescue team did tough job
Storm could spur support for tax levy
Storms' memories linger after damage is repaired
Mobilization was instant
Tornado tales
TV/radio stations had reason to boast
Volunteers grab chain saws, mops as workers untangle wires
At least 7 businesses destroyed
911 calls reveal confusion, fear