On the night of Thursday, February 15th, a tornado ripped through Uniontown, causing a massive amount of damage. It tore down homes, threw around debris, and pulled down anything and everything it touched. Thankfully, through all the damage and chaos it caused, no one was hurt significantly. The tornado’s path was two miles long and 1/4 mile wide, according to the National Weather Service. The service has recorded 11 tornadoes in Fayette County, including three categorized as EF1. Somewhere around 20 to 25 buildings were seriously damaged. Both Uniontown and Connellsville declared a state of emergency following the storm. Additionally, the Red Cross opened an emergency shelter at the East End Community Center at 150 Coolspring Street for anyone displaced by the severe weather. Personally, I was at Gallatin Avenue about 20 minutes after it happened to assist with clean-up and recovery.
A family friend of mine who lives in the area needed help because his garage had been completely lifted up by the storm. In addition, his front window had been shattered and needed boarded. After covering his possessions with tarps and patching the window, my father and I went to the local Sheetz to pick up 6 gallons of portable coffee and a case of waters to take to the emergency workers. The manager actually donated these things to us to take after we had told her our intentions for all the coffee. The following day we began with cleanup. I worked with members of the Red Cross to go out and clear debris and help anyone as much as we could. That’s how we spent a majority of our day. The next day, Saturday, we worked out of East End Community Center to put together meals for those in need. So, after preparing the meals, we loaded them up and took them out to the area. From there we went all over the surrounding area, offering food and drinks to those who were out of homes or were unable to obtain food for themselves or those without electricity.
Despite this horrible natural disaster, we as a community were able to come together, which is very uplifting. I hope that as we continue to clean up the area that we are able to make a difference overall and use this as an opportunity to better ourselves and the community.