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Tusc. County residents are banding together to fight the heat, bring on the storm cleanup

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Posted at 10:45 PM, Jun 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-15 23:26:07-04

TUSCARAWAS COUNTY, Ohio — As the sun sets on another day in the town of Gnadenhutten in Tuscarawas County, it brings with it the hopes of cooler temps.

Monday’s severe storm hit the town hard. There are still downed power lines, uprooted trees, and debris on every street you look at, and power for most in the area is still out.

AEP Ohio estimates power will not be fully restored throughout Tuscarawas County until Saturday, and with these dangerously hot temperatures, it’s a potentially dangerous situation.

“You’ve got a bunch of things that are just compounded, one thing after the other,” said Alex McCarthy, the director of Tuscarawas Emergency Management. “We have a lot of elder residents and a lot with medical vulnerabilities, so we want to make sure they’ve got what they need in order to stay safe.”

McCarthy said the county has worked with community partners to open up 10 cooling centers and they will operate for as long as they’re needed.

The centers have specific hours of operation but he said anyone who needs assistance can call the county for help.

“If other cooling centers have people they need to divert, we can move them as necessary. We also have a contingency plan in place if someone calls in the middle of the night, that their needs can be met,” he said.

Brenton Shroyer is a Gnadenhutten resident. He said they’re dealing with the storm’s aftermath, including no power, the best they can.

“We have a generator on the side of our house, we have the air conditioning running in the house, thank God,” he said. “It’s not very fun but we cope with it. There’s a lot of people worse off than we are so we are blessed to be here and not hurt.”

He said he’s sharing the generator with his neighbor and checking on other neighbors, too.

“We do have some elderly neighbors around us. We do check on them and make sure they’re ok,” said Shroyer. “That’s what we do in a small town.”

News 5 also caught up with dozens of volunteers at a Gnadenhutten park. Mel Hedtke said they’ve spent the entire day and most of the evening Thursday clearing debris and downed trees from the park.

“There’s been a lot of people out helping, making sure people have water, food places have been coming in and handing out food,” he said. “We’ve really come together as a community.”