In Your NeighborhoodEast Lansing - Okemos - Haslett - Williamston - Webberville


'We're here for each other;' Helping hands in Williamston after Thursday night's tornado

Williamston storm damage
Posted at 4:39 PM, Aug 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-25 16:45:17-04
  • The community of Williamston is one of many recovering from Thursday night's storm with a confirmed touch down of an EF-1 tornado nearby.
  • Local businesses like True Value Hardware and Sunnyside Cafe are coming together to help those in need.
  • Jeff Kodet with True Value gave a grill to Sunnyside Cafe who lost power in the storm. The diner will be giving out free meals to anyone in need of a good meal until power is restored.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

While our neighborhoods are working tirelessly to clean up the damage from Thursday night's storm, communities like Williamston stick together in tough times. Support from neighbors make pushing through a little easier.

“The storm last night was something that I've never experienced before. The winds, the sounds, the breakage of everything hitting the house, hitting the ground. I just gathered my dogs and headed for the basement," said Sunnyside Cafe owner Jeanette Ellsworth. "The aftermath was just devastating. It's horrible.”

The cleanup after the storm is now underway.

“We have family that's out right now trying to recoup losses on property damage, and we're just trying to help people with whatever they need right now to do the same,” said True Value Hardware owner Jeff Kodet.

Generators at True Value have been flying off the shelves.

“This has already been replenished once from our back stock and now we have to wait for our truck to get here,” Kodet said.

And those with power wanting to know how to help.

“We’ll just keep filling the shelves and doing what we can do to help people," Kodet said. “It’s terrifying. It really is.”

This EF-1 tornado was the second Kodet has been through in the last month.

“One of the folks on there said 'did you ever think you would be doing this twice in two weeks?' You know, and no,” Kodet said.

So when this storm hit close to home, his response was no different.

"It's horrible for the community, but I know like Perry, Williamston, they'll pull together and everyone will get it all done," Kodet said.

But he couldn't do it alone.

“The only way I know how to help is feed people," Ellsworth said. "That's what I do. That's the only way I know how to give back.”

A Blackstone grill delivered by Kodet to Ellsworth and Sunnyside Cafe, who lost power during the storm.

“Anything that we can do to help anyone," Ellsworth said. "That's what we're here to do.”

Where they'll be cooking outside and giving food out for free to anyone in need.

“Anybody that doesn't have power or needs food, needs something cooked for them, just take a break, responders, crews," Ellsworth said. "We're gonna be here until the power is restored.”

Bringing a little sunshine at the end of the storm.

“Hang in there. Ask for help," Ellsworth said. "Don't don't feel you're isolated. Don't feel you're alone. It's devastating. But we're here for each other.”

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Mikayla Temple

Mikayla Temple

1:39 PM, Jan 05, 2021

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Mikayla Temple

FOX 47 News Neighborhood Newsletter