Volunteer leader turned storm victim continues work - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Volunteer leader turned storm victim continues work

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As volunteer work continues, the Limestone County Red Cross chairman has to also content with damage to his own home. As volunteer work continues, the Limestone County Red Cross chairman has to also content with damage to his own home.
LIMESTONE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

Among the volunteers in Limestone County is a man in the unique position of having to focus on his own needs this time around. Bob Rolf is the Limestone County Red Cross Chairman. He has dealt with disasters like Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, helping and talking to victims there. This time, the tables have turned.

The tornado came straight through Rolf's neighborhood. His family rode out the storm in their basement, loaded with all the essentials – enough to last several days.

When it was over, his home was severely damaged.

"We've got sheet rock walls and some ceiling that will need replaced… all the carpeting," Rolf said as he examined his property.

You could say Rolf practices what he preaches with the Red Cross. The only thing unique about this cleanup is that this time it's his own.

"You see these disasters and you see what can happen, and you make these mental notes, listen to people tell their stories," he said. "The things they did right, the things they did wrong, and you bring those back."

Like all damage victims, Rolf said he's simply thankful to be alive.

"Fortunately there is a big handprint on our roof, and He said, ‘Not this house today.' I can't argue with that," said Rolf.

The cleanup efforts in Limestone County are far from over. More than a week after storms and tornadoes left destruction in their wake, people are still working to salvage what they can. Thankfully, the volunteers in that area are working hard as well.

Volunteers in the county said they're not leaving until everyone's needs are met. That includes operating full-service kitchens and running bathrooms and showers, all available to anyone who needs them. Lunch and dinner hours are often the most crowded; volunteers said they serve up about 1,500 plates a day.

There is also a washer and dryer available; volunteers will even wash storm victims' clothes for them if needed.

It's these services that victims like Mary Lazano and David Simmons are thankful to see.

Simmons said he should have died in the storm. The damage his trailer sustained was significant.

"I felt the trailer start shaking and I knew we were being lifted up in the air," he said.

When he landed, the home collapsed around him. He was alive, but he was missing something.

"When I opened my eyes, his leash was still in my hand," Simmons said, referring to his dog. "I called his name, and no response, so I thought he was dead."

Thankfully, Simmons' dog Rosco survived, too.

Lazano said she feels as blessed as Simmons, if for no other reason than the men and women here helping out.

"This is a world of help to us. Just to have a shower and a bathroom, considering I have no water and no electricity, that is a blessing," she said.

Volunteers said they plan to stay out for as long as needed.

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