Washington residents mark 1-week since tornado

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Songs of faith like “You raised me up” played at St. Patrick’s church at 11:05 a.m. Sunday. It’s the same time the tornado hit Washington one week ago.
“We were right on the line on the tornado,” said Eric Mickaels who took shelter with his family in their basement during the twister. Sunday, they gave thanks in their church, “This is both emotional and spiritually uplifting because we firmly believe we were protected by God’s hands or angels or whatever it was.”

Father Steve Willard and more than 200 parishioners were here at the church when the tornado hit. Twenty minutes later, they held mass in the dark, it brought new meaning this being a sanctuary, “We were all scared in a sense we weren’t sure what had happened out there, just a couple of news things coming in through the texts, but I think we always find our peace here.”

Saint Pat’s was filled with tornado survivors this morning; the sermon focused on being hopeful about rebuilding, and not being too prideful to accept help.

All the donations of clothing, food and toiletries were collected by the church to help tornado victims. They turned the gym for the school into a place where people can find something to eat and a shoulder to cry on.

Rich Oljace and his family lost everything. But they say St. Pat’s and other groups have been there with a helping hand, “We don’t want for anything. It’s just very comforting, knowing we have this community to support us.”

It was an emotional service. Washington tornado victim Steve Neubauer and other lives lost were mourned. People here say they are just thankful to have this Sunday, with their faith and their familes.

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