Volunteers clear tornado debris from New Kent community

NEW KENT, VA (WWBT) - The tornado-ravaged community of Woodhaven Shores in New Kent County is still cleaning up the mess left behind by Mother Nature.

Sky12 captured exclusive pictures of the damage from the tornado last month. Today, homeowners got a big helping hand!

They tell us a volunteer cleanup effort has been going on for weeks now. Today's group is coordinated by the Virginia Baptist Mission Board.

Woodhaven Shores is a private community. So without state or county help, about two dozen volunteers went to work cleaning up storm debris.

The roar of chainsaws is a familiar sound in Woodhaven Shores. The community has seen its fair share of Mother Nature's fury.

"They took a big hit during Isabelle, Hurricane Irene came through and did its damage and then the tornado came through right after that," said Dean Miller, with the Virginia Baptist Mission Disaster Relief team.

Some 40 to 50 areas were marked for debris cleanup, including this property off Lakeshore Drive where we caught up with volunteers starting a daunting task.

Cutting a tree that once stood eighty feet into much smaller, more manageable pieces to haul away.

"Every time I see it I'm reminded of just the power of nature," said Miller.
The Virginia Baptist Mission Board disaster relief team is coordinating this cleanup.

Other groups, like Christ in Action and the Red Cross are following its lead.

"It always makes you feel good to know you're helping somebody else out giving them that upper hand they need sometimes," said Miller.

The October tornado damaged or destroyed 30 homes.

"We were almost finished cleaning up Irene my husband made this beautiful pile of firewood and the tornado ripped through," said Rachel Segreto.

Segreto had to replace her car. Her roof and siding are next on the list. She knows some neighbors are worse off.

"Uprooted lives where I can stay in my home what else can you ask for," said Segreto.
The silver lining: Strangers helping to make life a little easier.

"It doesn't look like ground zero anymore," said Segreto.

Woodhaven Shores expects a larger turnout tomorrow with an estimated 40 to 50 people out here for storm cleanup.

If you'd like to lend a helping hand, call the Virginia Baptist Mission Board's disaster hotline at 804-545-1212. That number is only for people wanting to volunteer.

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