Strengthening our communities: Picking up the pieces

Strengthening.our.communities.E305JD.E181K4.E752K9.option.3What would you do if you heard that a tornado with 165-mile per hour winds leveled more than 30 homes in a neighboring community?

Assistant Branch Managers Kyle S. and Patrick D. didn’t think twice — they gathered supplies and stepped up to lend a hand.

When the tornado hit Appomattox, Virginia, earlier this year, it hit the town hard. The twister blazed a path about 400 yards wide and destroyed everything it touched on the ground for about 13 miles. It wreaked havoc on Appomattox, damaging more than 130 homes in its path.

Even though Kyle works and lives in Lynchburg, Va., he certainly had reason to be concerned. “My wife is a sixth grade math teacher at the middle school in Appomattox,” Kyle explains. “She had just ushered her students into the hallway of the school when the building lost power. Emotions were tense there that Wednesday afternoon, but fortunately, the tornado went around the middle school and high school.”

Helping in the aftermath

As soon as he heard about the destruction, Kyle didn’t waste any time pulling together support. “Appomattox is my wife’s hometown, so I wanted to help right away,” Kyle says. “I took off work the next two days and bought a couple hundred dollars’ worth of water, food and hygiene essentials to take there.”

In true Enterprise fashion, Kyle’s teammates were quick to help. Enterprise Truck Rental’s Kelly D. contributed supplies and John H. helped Kyle get a rental truck approved for him to use in the relief efforts.

“My wife and I drove the supplies to the outskirts of the hardest hit area the day after the tornado,” says Kyle. “We passed everything off to a friend who distributed supplies to the areas where they were needed most.”

By the time Kyle and his wife returned home that evening, plans to help with the clean-up efforts the next day were already in motion. Kyle’s coworker, Patrick Dempsey, also volunteered to help.  “Patrick’s a hard worker and he shares the same passion for the community as I do, so I knew he’d be eager to help.”

With boots and work gloves in tow, the trio worked with members of the high school football team removing debris and downed trees. “We worked at one house all day, stacking debris and removing tree limbs off the house,” says Kyle. “Even though we made great strides cleaning up, no matter where we looked around us, our eyes couldn’t escape the devastation.”

Lending a hand

If one thing is certain, Kyle and Patrick agree that seeing the aftermath of a tornado firsthand definitely puts things in proper perspective. “It was hard, physical labor, but we were where we needed to be,” says Kyle, who felt a personal sense of duty to help.

“When I was in eighth grade, my family lost our home to a fire,” Kyle explains. “What I remember most about that loss, though, is how quickly everyone in the community came to help,” he adds. “I know what it’s like to lose everything, so offering support to someone in need just seems like the right thing to do. The fact that Enterprise and my co-workers wanted to help was a nice bonus – it makes me proud to be a part of such a great team and company.”