Barneveld Man Wants To Help Victims In East With PM-Tornadoes Rdp
BARNEVELD, Wis. (AP) _ When Tom Mauger says he knows how the victims of last week’s tornadoes in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Canada feel, he’s not just repeating a well-worn phrase of comfort.
Mauger lost his own home when a killer tornado hit Barneveld last June. Now he wants to help people who are in a similar plight back East.
″I’d like to make my contribution, because I’m sure some of those people helped us,″ Mauger said. ″People all over the world helped little Barneveld out, and I think we owe it to the victims out east to help them.″
The congregation of Barneveld Lutheran Church said a silent prayer for the victims of the tornadoes that killed at least 87 people in the two states and the province of Ontario.
They have been meeting in the local Catholic church because their own church - leveled except for its belltower in the June 8, 1984 storm that struck Barneveld - will not be rebuilt and reopened until November.
The tornadoes that swept through Iowa and Wisconsin that night claimed 16 lives. Nine were killed in Barneveld and about 200 were injured.
But the town of 500 people was virtually destroyed. The storm left few buildings untouched. Barneveld was flattened, like the small towns of Albion, Atlantic and Wheatland that were hit last week in Pennsylvania.
The Barneveld twister threw Mauger and his wife Kathy, who was nine months pregnant, onto their lawn from the upper-story bedroom where they had been sleeping. Their home was demolished but Mauger was only scratched. Mrs. Mauger suffered only a broken ankle and two days later gave birth to a healthy daughter, Danielle.
Now the Maugers have a new home - with a hefty mortgage, Mauger adds. But he says he has enough to spare that he would like to donate some to the equivalent of the Barneveld Disaster Fund, a fund set up by the local bank, or even to an individual who lost his or her home in the Pennsylvania, Ohio or Ontario.
″I’d send them a check,″ Mauger said. ″People sent me checks after the tornado struck here.″