IL Storm Stories

IL Storm Stories
Posted on 05/16/2024
This is the image for the news article titled IL Storm StoriesMany of our Indian Lake students and staff members have Storm Stories that are important to share. When they are ready, we will highlight those who want to tell their story of loss, heroism, hope and resilience. 
This year's Indian Lake Schools E+R=O theme is "You Cannot Control the Wind, but You Can Adjust the Sails." That concept has never been truer in our school and community.  

Storm Stories

With the help of The Depot in Lakeview, Indian Lake High School math teacher Amber Shively was able to donate $3,500 to the United Way of Logan County's Tornado Relief Fund this week. 
The money was raised through the sale of her handmade "Stronger than the Storm" stamped metal bracelets over the past two months.
Amber says she and her husband, Troy (also an ILHS math teacher), were relieved when the dangerous weather system blew past their home in Wapakoneta. But to their horror, Indian Lake became ground zero for the tornado.
"Troy and I were sick. Just watching the news and thinking what's going on? Waiting to hear back from was so scary."
The Shivelys helped at ILHS in the days after the storm and delivered supplies in the community.
Amber was inspired to create the first "Stronger than the Storm" bracelet for her friend, The Depot owner Brenda Holder, who was helping to spearhead storm response and clean up in downtown Lakeview. Amber has been making and selling stamped metal jewelry since her bout with breast cancer a few years ago. She normally donates the proceeds to the Spielman Family Foundation in Columbus. 
However, it wasn't long until friends, staff members and students at Indian Lake Schools saw the storm bracelet design and wanted to use those words as inspiration to move forward. 
"You can tell they're nervous (the students). Everybody's been affected. I try to keep that in mind as a teacher that I don't know just how much these kids have been affected."
At this point, Amber has sold more than 400 "Stronger than the Storm" bracelets. The items are still available for purchase at The Depot in Lakeview and any remaining proceeds will also be donated to the United Way of Logan County. 

Brentlinger Family

Nearly two months after the tornado hit their Lakeview home, the Brentlinger Family is still trying to get answers and move forward from the storm.
Ashley Brentlinger is an Indian Lake alum and food service employee at ILES, while daughter Madison is an ILHS Senior. Ayla is a 7th grader at ILMS and Julianna is a second grader at ILES. Dad Terry Brentlinger is an ILHS alum and the DeGraff Police Chief. Older daughter, Taylor, and her husband, Damien, are also Lakers.
The night of the storm, Ashley and Ayla were at Julianna's second grade program at the school. They rode out the tornado in a safe space at ILHS. Madison remained at volleyball practice in Jackson Center, then stayed over with a friend. Terry was in Bellefontaine, but was immediately called out as a member of law enforcement. He was first to their house and he had to tear off the garage door to get to his police cruiser. 
Ashley explains the initial damage she saw when she went to rescue their pets later that night.
"It was awful. The front of our house doesn't look bad, but the side and the back were like, demolished. The siding is gone, the roof is gone, everything. So, I'm like, oh my gosh, what are we going to do?"
Ashley and the younger girls stayed over with her mom, but Terry continued on with search and rescue for several days. During that time, the family gathered what they could from the wreckage of their home and moved in with friends outside of Huntsville. 
Luckily, the Brentlingers had homeowners insurance, but the process has been complicated. The first structural engineer determined the house was beyond repair. Then the insurance company sent a different engineer weeks later who determined the home could be fixed. That engineer has since left the company, so another structural adjuster from the insurance company recently inspected the property. With the roof patched together and the windows boarded up for two months, Ashley explains the house continues to deteriorate. An abatement company found high levels of mold and it's unknown whether their HVAC unit is still operable. 
"We have no answers yet...I just need them to make a decision. We can't do anything without a decision from them," Ashley said. 
The Brentlingers hope to be able to rebuild on the same spot and add a basement. They have received aid from the United Way of Logan County, but FEMA denied their request for help because they have insurance.
The family is very thankful for all the assistance they've received, especially from the Gross Family, who has opened their home and their on-site cabin for the Brentlingers to live in during this difficult time. Ashley, Terry and Julianna are in the cabin, while Madison is in the main house. Ayla is living with older sister, Taylor. 
"It's hard because it's Madison's senior year and we can't all be together," Ashley continues. "The Grosses have been great, putting us up and buying us food...But it's tough."
The Brentlingers are hoping to have some kind of report from the latest engineer by the end of this week. 

McVety Brothers
Massive community clean up efforts continue in the aftermath of the tornado. What you may not know is that these three Indian Lake Middle School boys have been spearheading clean up since moments after the storm hit and they are still working hard!
The McVety brothers-Luke (5th grade), Zeke (6th grade) and Blake (8th grade) watched the storm roll in from their St. Johns area home. Blake and his dad, Tim, followed the path of the tornado in their TOPS Towing and Garage Truck knowing people might need their help.
First, they cleared the massive tree near Holiday Shores that was blocking the only way to Orchard Island so that first responders could get through. Then Blake continued on back with his dad's friend, Ross Duff, to help rescue Duff's daughter.  
Blake explained, "He goes inside. It was like ten minutes, he didn't come out. So I went in and he was on the ground with a broken leg." Blake applied a tourniquet to Duff's leg, pulled him from the home and got him to an ambulance.
Blake and Tim then joined Zeke and Luke, who were in Lakeview helping to upright several semis that had flipped over along Route 33.
The next day, they used heavy equipment to help make repairs at the Lakeview Hardware and demo a section of the Community Market store.
Zeke said, "While they were tearing it down, I did a lot of scooping, moving the stuff around and cleaning inside of the stores."
Their assistance was so needed that they continued clean up efforts for a few days instead of coming back to school with everyone else.
In the past month, the McVety brothers have worked to clear areas in Lakeview and Midway They even took their equipment on a barge and demolished the ruined homes on Bellefontaine Island. Next, they will work on more demo and clearing structures along 33 in Lakeview.
We are so proud of these Lakers for all their hard work to help our community!

Caylie Short
Many of you heard the initial story of ILHS sophomore Caylie Short. The tornado threw her from her home in Geiger Trailer Park in Lakeview and deposited her on Route 33 about 50 feet away. 
"I just remember waking up on the side of the road. It was pitch dark, it was a nightmare," she recalls."
Caylie ended up hospitalized for several weeks with two severely broken ankles. She remains in a wheelchair with casts on both legs. 
Earlier this week, her family moved from a hotel to a home in Lakeview that's been outfitted with ramps to accommodate her chair and a beautiful new bedroom just to Caylie's liking. 
Several lndian Lake students and young people from the Ignite Youth Group, led by Tara Cascioli at The Lighthouse (Indian Lake Community Church) helped with painting and putting together furniture.  
Caylie is quite grateful for their efforts. 
"I'm so happy that everyone was willing to help." 
It will be a few more weeks until the casts on her legs can come off and this well spoken, but quiet young lady is hopefully out of the wheelchair. 
"I don't like going out in public because everybody knows I'm the girl that got hurt (in the tornado.)"
She is looking forward to hosting a sleepover with friends soon. And to getting her glasses, that were lost in the storm, replaced. Caylie is getting some counseling to help her deal mentally with the aftermath of the storm. And like a true Laker, her focus is on getting healthy and catching up on her studies. 
"I just want to heal faster and get through all my school work because I'm, like, really
Don't worry about all that! 
Young people who helped work on Caylie's house include Kiera Barnes, Alaina Hershberger, Daisy Jenkins, Lisa Tracey, Tia Tracey ('23), Brody Lewis, Cody Jacobs, Heidi Spires, Terra Beltz, Kaleb Carden, Lilly Lazo, and Keaton Thompson. 

young story
Many members of the Young Family who work at Indian Lake Schools were rocked by the storm that destroyed the home of their parents, Susan and Lenny. Susan Young herself recently retired from ILS as Director of Food Service. 
ILES Physical Education teacher Dan Young recalls the events in his own words. We begin as Dan was watching his daughter in the second grade program:
My brother had called me near 7pm and said there was a report of a tornado in Celina, headed this way at 50 mph.  After the program, I was actually in a Young Life meeting, and when we heard the sirens and got a second warning, we decided to move to the locker room for more safety.  I heard voices in the hallway, so I walked around the corner and saw Mrs. Hall with some people still here from the program.  We decided to move them to the lower locker rooms for better safety.  I just happened to look at the front doors and saw the wind blowing in toward the West, and the sky toward Lakeview looked very bad.  I received a broken up call from my Mom that said she needed help and a text from my older sister that her house had been hit.  Not knowing exactly what that all meant, I tried to call my mom back, but the service was very broken.  As I moved closer to the door to try better service, I saw the wind had changed directions blowing to the east and much, much harder, and I could hear some hail.
I left the school and headed to Lakeview.  It was very dark, and the first thing I saw was a few downtown building damaged, and lots of powerlines down across the street.  As I approached the end of the street, a few large trees were in my path, so I went through a parking lot to get to my parents' house.  When I arrived, I could see my uncle's truck and could hear my Aunt and Uncle near the house.  We made it around to the back of the house and two of the neighbors were helping get Mom (Susan) out of the house, but Dad (Lenny) was still in the house.  Thankfully another neighbor had National Guard training, and was in the house helping get Dad out.  As we moved him out of the house, a brother of another neighbor had made it to the house and was helping as well.  I could see that Dad was bleeding and soaking wet.  We had no idea how bad, but he was able to answer questions and knew what was going on.
I quickly got him into my van and we headed to the ER, while Mom went with my aunt and uncle.  As I headed back down the road, I finally got a call from my brother telling me how bad it was, and what route to take to get to the ER.  We had to head back past the High School to avoid all of the other roads that had already been closed.  
At the hospital they found a cut on Dad's head that required staples, and then a chest tub was put in to help remedy an ongoing lung problem.  He obviously couldn't have his Oxygen on at his destroyed house, so the ER and then quickly Grant Hospital was a very good place for him to start his recovery.
He came home after 10 days in the hospital, and for the most part has recovered from that night.  He has some recurring things that were happening before, but for the most part is back functioning as his body will allow.
Mom was not injured, but traumatized, but had been overwhelmed with support.  She received numerous texts that night even from grandkids who were out of town or out of the state, and many family friends.  She even had a visit in the following weeks from many of her High School classmates.  Some of which she had not been in contact with for many many years.  She is feeling quite blessed.
With the help of many others she has a new house arranged, and since we were so blessed to find many of her belongings, they are in storage awaiting that time when her new house can be a place to call home.

storm stories

We continue our storm stories series with a group of ILHS upperclassmen who launched a grassroots cleanup in one neighborhood after the tornado swept through. 
Seniors Caiden Nicol, Grant McPherson and Evan Manley hunkered down in the basement of Manley's Huntsville home during the storm. Meanwhile, Katie and Halle Roby, who live in Waterbury, rode out the storm stuck in Jackson Center at volleyball practice. 
 "I came back the next day and saw so much destruction. We knew we had to help our neighbors who could not help themselves," Katie said. 
Meantime, Evan gathered up his five chainsaws and the guys set out for Waterbury. 
Evan explained, "I have been cutting wood for years, so I have experience. We just mostly cut up trees and removed debris from people's houses and the roads. There are a lot of people who don't have equipment to get that kinda stuff done."
"I initially didn't want to go because I was letting the fear of the storm get to me, but when I saw Evan's drive to get up and go help people I forgot about my fears." Grant continued, "It was really sad to see everything that happened. It almost felt unreal."
The group worked long hours for several days to clear brush, pile up debris and clear away downed trees. Several other friends and neighbors helped during that period, as well. 
"The neighbors came by and fed us, made sure we were well taken care of. It was amazing seeing how much humanity this community still has," Halle said.  
The group continued their efforts until school was back in session knowing that they had learned an important lesson. 
Caiden said, "I feel like we really helped people and made an impact in our community. I think we did a really important thing to show our concern for others."

Emily Harford

ILHS senior Emily Harford was on duty at Subway of Indian Lake when the tornado sirens sounded off. 
“The sky was getting dark and we could see all the lightning, but we didn’t know how bad it was going to be,” Emily recalled.
As a three-year veteran employee, she knew what to do to make sure everyone there took cover. After receiving warnings on their phones and hearing the sirens, Emily and her co-workers ushered several customers into the restrooms—the safest place in the restaurant. 
“Subway’s got nothing but big windows, so we had to figure out something. We locked all the doors and got everyone into the bathrooms.” She continued, “My main focus was keeping one of my co-workers calm because she was having a panic attack and making sure our customers were ok.” 
The power went out and they listened to the commotion in the dark. The Subway employees stayed in contact with their boss on the phone until the storm passed and once it was over they closed up the store by the light of the back-up generator. 
Everyone headed home, but Emily could not. She lives with her family in Lakeview, just blocks from where homes had been completely destroyed. She again took precautions and stayed at a friend’s house instead of trying to make her way home through all the downed power lines and trees. 
Emily knows she was lucky at work and at home. 
“At my house we had shingles off the roof, a gas leak, and a broken window, but we are fortunate.”

Storm Stories-Coburn

ILHS Assistant Principal Mr. Dave Coburn and ILHS/OHP Business Teacher Mrs. Lisa Coburn were in Wapak having dinner with friends when the tornado alerts began. On their way home, they encountered the edge of the storm damage and blocked roads that rerouted them out in the country, but they had no idea of the destruction that lay ahead.
"It was crazy. The power was all out in Lakeview, but the gas station was all lit up in Russells Point," Dave said. "We didn't know at that point what people were seeing or why people were scrambling around-- because they had seen what we hadn't seen yet."
The road to their Orchard Island home was obstructed by a felled tree at Holiday Harbor, so they decided to go help at Indian Lake High School where Superintendent Rob Underwood was organizing a temporary shelter and triage center. 
Lisa was on the phone with their son Chase, who was safe in a friend's Waterbury home. He was worried about their dog and cat. Lisa recalled, "I think (State Route) 274 was flooded and then there was just trees and debris. I said, 'you're safe, stay put for now.'"
They helped at ILHS until midnight, then picked up Chase and made their way toward Orchard Island where they abandoned their car and walked to the top of the bridge. 
"Even though the power was out, there was still a lightning show, so you could see the flash of the light and the silhouette of everything. We could see the boats in the trees, boats upside down, trees down. But we could see our house was still standing," Dave said. 
They waited on the bridge with hope for several hours while downed power lines and busted gas lines were turned off for safety purposes. That's when retired Washington Township Police Chief Rick Core, who had responded as a law enforcement volunteer, agreed to take them back to their neighborhood.
"We saw mobile homes flipped upside down and we were like, whoa! Some of those mobile homes were crushed, disintegrated," Lisa said. 
Then they got to their own home of 26 years. What they could not see from the bridge was that the entire front of the house was crushed by a giant cottonwood tree. 
"The base of the tree fell on the house, so the front of the tree was blocking the entrance," Dave explained. "So we climbed through the tree to get in the front door...We busted our way in the front door and all of a sudden Molly (the dog) came running down the steps."
Their cat was ok, too. But the structure was destroyed by a combination of the tree, wind and rain. 
They grabbed their animals and essentials and made their way to Lisa's sister's house for the night. But they were up early the next day. 
"In daylight, it was a war zone," Dave said. 
Lisa continued, "Anywhere you looked was destruction. If you looked straight down, there's debris and insulation and glass. You look up and there's metal in the trees. I couldn't even process it. There was so much devastation everywhere."
"The tornado had gone over the water, so every place around here looked like it was sprayed with a mixture of mud, insulation and lake water. It looked like fur," Dave recalled.
Right now, the Coburns are working through the process with their insurance company, which declared their home a total loss. They are living temporarily in a lake home that belongs to an ILHS alum. They plan to move to an AirBnB on northern Orchard Island once minor repairs on it are complete. That way they will be close as they rebuild a new home on the same spot as soon as possible. 
Both are back to school, as well, helping students come to terms with what the tornado left behind. 
"In the grand scheme of things, we're way better off than a lot of people. I feel guilty on one hand, but so thankful on the other." Dave said he's glad to see The Lake Effect--a concept concentrating on resilience taught at ILHS--in action. 
"It's great to see the community rally around each other. It's crazy how it brings us all together. "