Portland — A church festival will take place this weekend in a Lansing-area community despite damage from a tornado.

Portland St. Patrick Summerfest takes place Saturday and Sunday. Hundreds of volunteers have been working since Monday’s storms to clean up Father Flohe Field and get ready for the event.

Patrick Russman, athletic director of Portland St. Patrick School, tells the Sentinel-Standard of Ionia they’re “just very thankful and very grateful to God for the fact that we really have minor injuries, no fatalities.”

The Lansing State Journal reports a local screen printing and embroidery business is taking orders for new “Portland Strong” T-shirts. They’ll be available at Summerfest. Proceeds from the sale by Hometown Sports Inc. will benefit local churches that had tornado damage.

Meanwhile, a more than century-old bell that fell into another church sanctuary when the storms knocked down the church’s new steeple has been removed intact from the rubble.

Crews took down part of the First Congregational Church building Wednesday in the Lansing-area community of Portland. Tom Huggler, chairman of the church’s board, says part of a wall was removed to get to the bell.

In November, a celebration was held to dedicate the steeple and ring the bell.

Huggler says the walls of the church will be evaluated to see if some of them can be saved.

Epic Community Church, First Baptist Church and United Methodist Church also were damaged Monday when a tornado swept through the community. Joint services are planned this Sunday and July 5 at Portland High School.


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