West Liberty police not spared from tornado, need help

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

The clean-up continues on Riverside Drive, or what's left of it, after it was hit head on by the EF-3 tornado in West Liberty, a little more than one week ago.

"This was the heart of it," pointed out West Liberty Police Officer Tim Smedley, who was working that night and became a victim himself.

Smedley says he's fortunate his fiance and child were with family and out of harms way that night.

"We actually watched the funnel cloud come over the ridge," recalled Smedley, "I knew my home was gone immediately."

Knowing his home was destroyed was one thing, doing something about it was another. Smedley knew he had an obligation to his town and to the others victimized by the deadly tornado.

"It was difficult to drive by your home and see stuff you could probably get," stated Smedley, who finally got to clean up and sort through the rubble this weekend.

He added, "You could come here six weeks from now and still find stuff, but at some point you have to say I'm satisfied with what we got."

While the veteran officer was able to recover family photos, dishes, and memorabilia from previous travels but other than that, his family lost everything.

"We lost the family dog, and we lost everything that we need to live," said Smedley.

"I'd like to be able to help those officers recover as quickly as possible," stated Police Chief Kelse Hensley, of West Liberty.

Chief Hensely knows his entire community is hurting and in need, and he has two police officers who are no different.

The chief says Smedley and one other officer lost their homes and family cars, and he'd like to get them some help so they can settle their families and be able to focus on helping others.

"If you have something you can give the officers, it would be greatly appreciated," added Chief Hensley.

"A lot people lost their homes, lost their jobs and livelihood along with it, and I fortunate that way," recognized Smedley.

Still, this dedicated officer knows he's going to be okay because he's got his life, family, friends, and his town.

If you'd like to help the officers there is an account with the Commercial Bank in West Liberty or you can call 606-743-4385 for more details.

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