Sumter celebrates recovering one year later -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sumter celebrates recovering one year later


March 1, 2008

Sumter County --  Looking into the crowd you would have never have known that these faces have stared down the horror of a tornado.

"We will always be effected by it," said Joni Westburg.

"We had the flood in 1994, but we had no where near the sudden urge of devastation that we did on March 1, 2007, but we are getting through it we are recovering," said EMS Manager, Mark Long. 

"We got over the flood, but a year later we still haven't got over the tornado. It's taken a while to get over it, but we will," said Sumter Fire Chief, Allen Erkhart.

A recovery process that would never be possible without everyone's efforts. "We started to go house to house to make sure everybody was okay.

But all the people started to help us clean up the streets and everything. We couldn't have done it without all the volunteer help that we had," said Erkhart.

"The whole community has pulled together all of our local and state officials are doing a great job trying to get Sumter back on its feet," said Long.

And now the people everyone relied then has stepped up to the plate again. Only this time to celebrate how far they've come. "It's a good day to come out and socialize and visit with co-workers and family and friends that have survived that night," said Long.

"I hope that if this, God forbid, should happen to any other community that they come together like Americus did," said Westburg. Because that is what has brought them to where they are today.

Sumter County firefighters competed in a softball game against the county's law enforcement to help raise money for the American Red Cross. The firefighters won that game 29 to six.