BROOKVILLE – On May 27 Brookville and many area communities experienced a devastating F4 tornado.
Among the areas hit hardest in Brookville was the Terrace Park neighborhood as well as the Brookville Wastewater Treatment Plant on South Wolf Creek Street.
At the Oct. 15 John Ritter from Ritter Plumbing in Brookville was presented with a special plaque by Brookville Mayor Chuck Letner for his companies’ willingness to0 aid the city in clean-up efforts.
Last week John and Phil Ritter along with Brookville City Manager Sonja Keaton and Service Department Superintendent Chris Homan sat down and discussed the aid Ritter and his company gave.
According to John Ritter he received a telephone call from Brookville Fire Chief Ron Fletcher late in the evening of May 27 informing him that a tornado touched down in the city and equipment of his company was damaged at a storage facility on Heckathorn Road in the city.
Phil Ritter was also contacted by Fletcher about aiding with shutting off natural gas service to damaged homes in Terrace Park.
John Ritter said he was out of town when the calls were placed, and it wasn’t until he returned to Brookville later that week that he understood the scope of the storm.
“I knew there was a tornado, I never expected for it to be as bad as it was,” Ritter said.
The Ritter’s estimated that four dump trucks, 12 people form the company and several mini excavators were immediately re-routed form other projects to help Brookville.
Homan said that in addition to helping in Terrace Park crews from Ritter Plumbing assisted in cleaning up the Wolf Creek bed near the WWTP to keep that facility operating and clear from any flooding issues.
“I had my guys loading dumpsters and they (Ritter) helped in getting downed trees from power lines,” Homan said. “You guys (Ritter) also went into back yards to assist residents.:”
Homan said that with the Ritter’s help when portable toilets along with wash stations and non-potable water tanks arrived clean-up efforts were greatly aided.
“We had a good system going,” said City Manager Keaton. “We were very appreciative. I don’t know what we would have done without it.”
Keaton added after the sit-down meeting, “I would like to express my sincere thank you to Ritter Plumbing for all of their assistance immediately following the Memorial Day tornado. Without their quick action with assisting with gas shutoffs and offering their property for the disposal of tree debris, we would not be where we are at today with our tornado recovery efforts.”
She also thanked all the many volunteers and groups who aided the city.
“A huge thank you also goes out to the hundreds of volunteers and businesses that donated food, water and supplies and volunteered cleanup efforts throughout the city in the weeks that followed the Memorial Day tornado,” said Keaton. “We cannot be where we are today without all of the volunteers that showed up from near and far.
“The amount of outpouring from this community was so overwhelming that I can say that I am proud to be a resident of the city of Brookville,” Keaton added.
Ritter opened his facility on Westbrook Road to be used as a spot people could bring what he termed “green debris,” or non-building material debris, and Ritter employees termed the massive pile collected, “Mount Brushmore.”
That debris pile has been mulched up and anyone wishing to obtain any of that mulch can do so for a donation.
John Ritter said any donations received will be donated to Brookville Tornado Relief accounts.
He also said that the Westbrook Road facility was opened as a processed top soil location and anyone wishing to obtain processed top soil can do so for a donation. Donated funds will go to the same relief accounts.
“We went from Mount Brushmore to Mulch Mountain,” John Ritter said.
City officials were also appreciative of efforts made by folks from the Old German Baptist congregation that meets in a facility at the intersection of Heckathorn Road and Wolf Creek Pike in the clean-up.
John Ritter said that as soon as clean-up in Brookville was stabilized, and Homan said it was stabilized quickly, he sent his crews to Trotwood to aid efforts in that city.
Ritter said that a group from Sharing Hope Ministries from Mackeyville, Pa. are coming to the Brookville area to help in rebuilding damaged homes and buildings.
“If anyone has a need or knows of someone who needs help, they (Sharing Hope) will provide labor free of charge,” John Ritter said.
He said to call his company at 937-410-0207 and ask for Al Brunk. He is the contact with Ritter Plumbing for Sharing Hope Ministries.