Ruritans help following tornado

When tragedy strikes its just human nature to want to help. When the tornadoes struck Essex County several weeks ago King William Ruritan member Dennis Smith traveled to the area to offer his assistance. What he saw was just beyond belief. The first house he came upon only the foundation was left. He asked whose home it was and if everyone was ok. Lee Richards, a friend of Dennis who was on site, told Dennis the young couple, Jason and Melissa Swiger and their eight year old son Brandon, had miraculously survived.

The night of the tornado Jason had just sat down to eat supper when he heard the roar of a freight train. Jason immediately ran into the living room and covered his wife and son....seconds later they along with their house were swirling in the air. Jason woke up under his truck in the yard....Melissa and Brandon were lying in the yard also. Jason spent some time in the hospital and is now recovering. Melissa and Brandon were treated and released. They now have no home and only the clothes on their back and some other belongings they were able to salvage.

Dennis came back to the Ruritan Club and asked the club members to help this family. The club responded with a $1000 check and then some members chipped in another $600 in cash....and he picked up another $100 from South Rivers Forestry Consultants and $40 from his neighbor Jesse Burch. Also Club President Mike Morrison received a $250 donation from the Eastern Henrico Ruritan Club which will be presented to the family later.

Dennis traveled to Chester, Va on Tuesday March 15 where the family is staying with friends and presented the Swiger family with the $1,740 collected. With tears streaming down their faces, Melissa and Jason were very appreciative and grateful. I am reminded of what Ruritan member Steve Sykes always reminds us at club meetings "Every day is a gift....live it as such".

Gene Campbell, King William Ruritan Club

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