Neighbors help neighbors by raising cash after Thumb tornado

Huron Daily Tribune

Port Austin – Residents at the tip of Michigan’s Thumb have been passing the hat and helping each other recover from a June tornado that destroyed dozens of properties with its 120 mph winds.

Steve Lepeak, 65, at right, stands on the porch of what is left of his home the day after a tornado devastated homes along Grindstone Road in Port Austin, June 27, 2021

A recent fundraiser that included a silent raffle and cornhole tournament raised approximately $10,000, the Huron Daily Tribune reported.

“We had one person who wrote a $1,000 check as a donation and other people donated $100 checks,” said Patrick Foogazi, who helped organize the event.

“There were people just walking in and giving money. Even the guy who won the cornhole tournament donated the money he won back to the fund,” Foogazi said.

The money was given to the Lions Club in Port Austin, which will distribute it to people in need. Dozens of properties were destroyed on June 26 by the tornado.

“We don’t even know the full extent of the need,” Lions Club member Casey Bruce said. “I know the insurance companies are still working diligently to get claims processed and maybe we’ll never know the total of the damage caused.”