Iona reeling from EF2 tornado, neighbors come together to help each other

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News

Iona is still dealing with impacts from Sunday morning’s storms. But, neighborhoods there are banding together to help each other pick up the pieces.

Century 21 Mobile Home Park in Iona was one of the areas that saw the most damage.

When Paula Sirbaugh saw the destruction of her home for the first time, it was heartbreaking. “We don’t have a roof. The roof was completely lifted off, and it’s in the backyard, and it goes as high as the trees. It was taken off in a solid piece,” said Sirbaugh.

Sirbaugh flew down to Florida from Michigan on Monday. She says while she was hoping for the best, she was preparing for the worst.

“We were just holding out that it wasn’t that bad and we weren’t one of those home,” Sirbaugh said.

It hurt even more because the family has been working on this home to accommodate her 85-year-old father for the past year. “We have no roof on the lanai out front. Which was my dad’s favorite area to sit with his rocking chair…his chair is still there,” she said.

Many people in Century 21 Mobile Home Park in Iona searched for hope amid the destruction. And they’re trying to figure out what’s next.

“I’m sure that supplies in the area are going to be overwhelmed. Difficult to get. Finding the help,” said Sirbaugh.

Marvin Steele also lives in Iona. “It’s been rush rush rush with phone calls. You can’t get through. You just got to wait for another day,” said Steele.

Steele spent Monday trying to get a hold of his insurance company. Without power and with debris all over, he had to find a place to stay. Not just for him, but for his child. “I have a daughter just down the road here a little ways, so we’re going there,” Steele said.

Sirbaugh doesn’t know how long recovery will take her. But for her father, she’s remaining optimistic.

“We’ll do it, we’ll rebuild, and I’ll have my dad down here as soon as I can and out of the Michigan weather,” said Sirbaugh.

As this was one of the hard-hit areas, many people suddenly had to find other living arrangements. Some people told WINK News they were staying in hotels or with loved ones.

They didn’t even want to talk or think about how long rebuilding will take.

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