Thankful and counting their blessings: Ashtabula residents reflect after devastating tornado destroyed their homes

WILLIAMSFIELD – Tossing on another sweatshirt, Darren Beach, smiles as he gets equipment ready for the  workers that are making repairs to his home.

“It’s getting cold and I need a roof,” Beach said, his  cheeks and hands red from the cool November temperatures. “But I know it could have been far worse.”

Beach, and about two others living on Route 322 in Williamsfield , had their homes either destroyed or severally damaged when an EF-2 tornado touched down November 5.

During past Thanksgivings,  Beach has been grateful for the roof over his family’s head, and now that it was ripped off  in the storm he says he is actually flooded with more reasons to be appreciative.

“I am so thankful no one was hurt,” Beach said.  “Yeah, my camper got destroyed, my house and garage damaged but those are things. They can be replaced. My family, our dog, all OK.  I am blessed, truly blessed.”

And many living on the street agree with Beach.  They say the ferocious wind  caused severe damage , but   it failed to break the spirit of kindness that lives inside those that have called this place home for years.

“I remember seconds after the tornado hit and my neighbors coming to check on me even though their houses were damaged,” said John Sisley.  “We went and checked on others, too. “

And Sisley added his neighbor’s across the street, the Fuller’s, spent hours the day after the tornado riding their fourwheelers delivering water and  making sure  no one was hurt.

So several of those living here say as they reflect this Thanksgiving season,  they will continue to repair, rebuild and be thankful.

“We will be strong” Sisley said. “We will get through it together and it will be better for all of us.”