Volunteers help clean up turf field at YMCA after tornado
ANDOVER, Kan. (KAKE) - One of the buildings that took a direct hit from the tornado that swept through parts of Butler County last week was the Dr. Jim Farha YMCA in Andover.
While it sounds like the facility is still assessing the extent of the damage. Volunteers sprang into action Tuesday to help clean up the exterior of the building in any way they could.
The local Andover YMCA that once stood tall, now sits as a shell of what it once was.
Volunteer Don Towle said when he heard about what happened he was heartbroken.
“I come here, five days a week. And I know the people and it's, you know, it's more than just a facility that got blown away,” he said.
He lives in Augusta, but this facility was like a second home to him.
It was a place where families all over Butler and Sedgwick counties could take workout classes, play at the water park, or be a part of different sports programs.
“We just had kids games out here all the time. And we just provide for the kids, made sure that they had a good time,” said Tanner Gawith, a student worker at the YMCA.
Now, debris, branches, equipment and even destroyed cars are part of the wreckage left behind from nearly 165 mph winds, from the tornado Friday.
As soon as Towle heard the news, he knew he had to help and he wasn’t alone.
Dozens of volunteers from local churches, organizations and YMCA workers came to pick up the turf field.
“There's still a lot of debris if you wonder where the roofs went to that got blown away over there. A bunch of it landed in the field and we picked it up. I think we filled up three dumpsters,” said Towle.
Casey’s General Store even brought pizzas and water to give to volunteers.
“Everybody was super eager to get out and help,” said Gawith.
Towle said it’s not perfect and it may take a long time to get everything back to the way it was, but he said with the help of the community big strides were made Tuesday.
“We literally filled the soccer fields with people to get the job done. It's Yes, it's always many hands make light work. And this did not take us a long time. And everybody worked hard, but it was, there were a lot of good volunteers. A lot of good people,” said Towle.
We reached out to the YMCA in Andover and a spokesperson said they are hoping to have more information later this week about classes, activities and the full extent of the damage.