By Kristin Bednarski
One year after a devastating tornado ripped through the village of Moscow on March 2, 2012, members of the community, state and county officials, emergency personnel and volunteers gathered to reflect March 3.
Moscow Mayor Tim Sutor welcomed guests to the remembrance event, and thanked many of the officials from the county and state for their help over the past year.
Sutor said the village has come a long way since the tornado, but said they still have work to do in the future.
“We would like to thank you for the support in the last year and for your support in the future,” Moscow Mayor Tim Sutor said during the ceremony. “We will need it.”
Clermont County Commissioner Bob Proud, who was the master of ceremonies, welcomed several guests to speak about the tornado and the recovery efforts in the past year.
Proud welcomed Clerk of Courts Tim Rudd, who spoke on behalf of the county.
Rudd recalled his memories of that night, and spoke about the impact of the tornado.
“We were not here at ground zero, we did not go through what you all went through,” Rudd said.
Rudd said he was driving home during the storm and knew it was dangerous.
“I hit a wall of water and wind that must have been the tail end of what you all had,” Rudd said.
Rudd said one of the judges called him later that evening to tell him what had happened in Moscow. He said the next morning, he was cleaning up debris around his home and picked up buckets full of insulation that had blown over in the storm.
“That’s enough to make someone ill, knowing that’s what’s left of someone’s home,” Rudd said.
He said that the village came together to get through the disaster and he likened the process to events in the Bible.
“We are here to salute you and celebrate where you have come and where you are going,” Rudd said to residents.
Clermont County Sheriff Tim Rodenberg took time during the ceremony to thank the emergency personnel who assisted immediately after the tornado and throughout the past year.
Rodenberg said after he reported to Moscow and saw the damage, he thought it was a miracle more people were not injured or killed.
He said police and emergency service personnel throughout the county responded immediately and worked together to keep residents safe and passersby out of the area while cleanup began.
“Many law enforcement agencies, I can’t name them all, got together,” Sheriff Rodenberg said.
Rodenberg said it was really the troops in the field that deserve the credit for assisting in the disaster.
“To the troops in the field, thank you,” Rodenberg said.
Many of the speakers also thanked the thousands of volunteers who came to the aid of the village.
Lisa Davis, with the Clermont County Board of Developmental Disabilities, the organization that was designated as the volunteer reception center, talked about the impact of volunteers in the past year.
Davis said after the tornado, she was called immediately to man the volunteer reception center.
“People immediately began calling asking what they could do,” Davis said.
Davis said they had more than 2,000 volunteers register to help after the tornado, and there were many more beyond that.
She said volunteers helped pick up debris, donated a variety of items to tornado victims, cooked hot food for the community, planted trees to replace trees that were lost, and much more.
Davis said you could go forever trying to name all of the individuals and organizations who volunteered their time in the community.
“What a blessing it is to know people are there if there is a need,” Davis said. “What a blessing you all are to our community. We salute you and thank you.”
Several other officials spoke during the ceremony including State Senator Joe Uecker, Congressman Brad Wenstrup and several local pastors from churches that were affected by the tornado.
The ceremony also included musical performances by State Representative Doug Green, John Hale, D. Marie Pierce, Julia Hackney-Sweet and Interfaith Community Choir.