Friday, September 24, 1999

Guardsmen hailed for tornado work


ONG, in turn, thanks communities for help

BY PHILLIP PINA
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOVELAND — When the tornado hit Hamilton County in April, the villages and townships it damaged faced an immense task.

        Homes and businesses were destroyed. Power was lost. Transportation routes were blocked. Lives were lost. Within minutes, police and fire crews were joined by volunteers and businesses throughout the region working to clear up the devastation. Also responding was the Ohio National Guard.

        On Thursday, the leader of one of those affected communities pointed to the efforts of the guardsmen as a saving grace. About 150 guardsmen were deployed to help the tornado relief.

        They guarded streets. They cleared trees. They cleaned clogged streams in danger of flooding. And they offered hope, said Eric Minamyer, president of the Symmes Township board of trustees.

        “Without the National Guard, we would have never been able to deal with this disaster,” Mr. Minamyer said. He spoke before a crowd of guardsmen and community leaders in Loveland Thursday at one of several town meetings being held across Ohio to build community involvement.

        Ohio's Army National Guard and Air National Guard have a total of about 15,000 guardsmen. They respond to trouble spots such as Bosnia, as well as disasters such as Hurricane Mitch in Central America. But there is plenty of work done back home as well, said Brig. Gen. Ronald Young, assistant adjutant general for the Ohio Army National Guard. April's tornado is one example of that, he added.

        At the meeting, held at International Paper's technology center, the Ohio National Guard gave five Cincinnati-area communities appreciation awards for their cooperation and own efforts during the tornado disaster: Symmes Township, Loveland, Blue Ash, Montgomery and Sycamore Township.

       



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