Compliments of Wyoming Police and Fire and Walmart
by Janice Limbaugh
It’s been a long haul for residents living in the storm damaged neighborhoods of Kentwood and Wyoming after the F1 tornado on Sunday, July 6th.
But after a month of brisk clean up efforts, Ideal Park residents are seeing light at the end of the tunnel and the Wyoming Public Safety officer decided it was time to celebrate with a neighborhood BBQ. The new WalMart on 56th Street donated enough food to feed 1200 people while Wyoming firefighters and police officers manned the grills and the food line. The residents response? Well, they ate it up!
“We’ve gotten so close with this community through all their devastation that we thought, wouldn’t it be nice to get together and have a picnic when this is over,” says Chief James Carmody, director of public safety.
“It’s just really great to kick back and relax after all the hard work everyone’s been doing over the last several weeks.”
Portia McLean is the store manager at the new WalMart that will open on Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. She and her family had just relocated to the area and were staying in a nearby hotel when the tornado came through. She says there were employees working in the store when the tornado hit. Everyone inside was safe.
“After we saw the devastation, we wanted to help in any way, so we’ve been working closely with Wyoming firefighters and public safety,” McLean explains. “We’re more than happy to jump in and help the neighborhood right across the street from us.”
A steady stream of residents dropped by for the food and camaraderie. Many made new friends with officers and firefighters and took the opportunity to recall some of the lighter moments of the tragic event that brought them closer together.
“Weren’t you the officer who teased me about cutting tree branches in flip-flops?”
“Yes, that was me. Good memory.”
“I knew it. You gave me a good laugh and I needed it then,” a woman remarked.
Mayor Jack Poll weaved his way from table to table to speak with folks he became familiar with over the last several weeks.
“I’ve never been more proud to be mayor of this city,” he says. “The community worked so hard to team up with us and together we’ve made an incredible amount of progress. I’m proud of the residents and the police and fire departments. They’ve done a tremendous job.”
While the neighborhood clean up effort is pretty much wrapped up, Ideal Park is another story.
“The devastation in the park is way above and beyond our resources,” Mayor Poll says. “The park won’t be open any time this year. We have a lot to do there yet. Our residents take priority.”