Neighboring Communities Gather To Help Chapman

By: Morgan Smith Email
By: Morgan Smith Email

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The lines outside the tornado-ravaged town of Chapman formed early on Saturday, as eager volunteers showed up in droves to clean up Mother Nature's mess.

"To be able to get in and do physical labor is a great feeling," Berrington resident Jason Jeardoe said.

A group of high school students from the Herington football team were taken into town by the bus load and got their first look at what they'll be cleaning up.

"It looks like a war zone," senior Jason DeMont said. "It's amazing what weather can do and how it can affect so many people."

As the group filed off, volunteer leaders gave them their first assignment at the damaged home of an elderly Chapman resident. They organized an assembly line to discard debris into piles, a monotonous, but necessary process. There was a sense of teamwork similar to the way they operate on the football field.

Others worked in smaller groups, still shocked by the amount of devastation around them.

"I couldn't make myself believe it," Jeardoe said. "It's like something you see on TV, not something you would ever see in person."

As they worked, members of surrounding cities saw the resilience of the Chapman community, a reminder of why their school mascot is the "fighting Irish" -- and validation for why they decided to come and help.

"If this happened to our town, I know Chapman and surrounding towns would be doing the same for us," DeMont said.

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