Clean up is underway after an EF-1 tornado touched down Friday, March 31 in Salem. One of the buildings damaged by the storm was Hoyleton’s Schippel House, a therapeutic residential home for intellectually and developmentally delayed children and youth.
“The important thing is no one was injured, our staff and clients are safe,” said Claudia Lewis, Program Manager at Schippel House, “but there is a lot of clean up to be done.”
When word about the damage and clean up needed made its way to Anthony “Amp” Smith, Assistant Program Manager at Hoyleton’s residential campus about 30 miles away, he knew his ground’s crew, made up of Hoyleton residential youth could help. Amp has been with Hoyleton for more than 18 years and has a special bond with many of the youth who chose to work with him as part of the campus grounds crew. Throughout the year Amp and his crew of developmentally and intellectually delayed foster youth shovel snow, rake leaves, plant flowers and any other yard work needed.
Clean up at Salem provided an opportunity for Amp to bring his crew to a community that needed their help and they rose to the occasion. Amp and his crew spent the day clearing fallen branches and other debris, and disposing of damaged items from a storage shed that had been picked up during the storm and landed on it’s side a few yards away. The work gave them purpose and filled them with pride. One of the Hoyleton youth said, “Where can we go next to help?”
A group of students from the local middle school came by to thank them for their efforts and gave them each a bottled water. Amp took that opportunity to make sure the youth in his care knew they were doing important work and that it was being noticed and appreciated. During the clean-up activities Amp said, “I am sorry for the damage done at Schippel, but I knew right away it was an opportunity for the youth I work with to learn valuable lessons about helping others.”
As the day of clean up concluded Claudia said, “there are not enough words to express my gratitude, and how grateful I am for being part of the HYFS family.”
Pictured are Amp Smith and his crew.