Community to hold fundraiser to benefit victims of Mullica Hill tornado

It has been one month since the remnants of Ida devastated parts of New Jersey. And while many areas of the state dealt with massive flooding, homes in one South Jersey town were destroyed by a powerful tornado.

News 12 Staff

Oct 1, 2021, 9:30 PM

Updated 930 days ago

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It has been one month since the remnants of Ida devastated parts of New Jersey. And while many areas of the state dealt with massive flooding, homes in one South Jersey town were destroyed by a powerful tornado.
“A month later, I guess the thing that is now in everybody’s mind is how lucky we all are,” says Harrison Township Mayor Lou Manzo.
Manzo says that it is a miracle that no one was killed or seriously injured when the EF-3 tornado ravaged the Mullica Hill section of town on Sept. 1.
But many homes now sit empty and are tagged for demolition. One of those homes belongs to Mike Degrande.
“The whole second floor is blown out. A few roof trusses are gone. We’ve never even found the roof trusses, they’re just gone,” he says. “My garage wall, you can’t tell from here, but if you get inside of the garage you can see it bent…and there’s a gap between it. Sheetrock got picked up and blown out from the wind throughout the house.”
Officials say that 140 properties were damaged in the storm – 36 of which will have to be torn down.
Residents say that while dealing with insurance companies has been a slow process, the community stepped in right away.
“I showed up two or three days after the storm and there was a Boy Scout troop cleaning out my yard. Like literally my yard was covered in debris and contents from all sorts of neighbors and people in town and folks I didn’t know were handing me gift cards,” Degrande says.
One month later, that community support hasn’t wavered. The owner of Naples at the Warehouse and other local businesses are planning a fundraiser in two weeks to benefit those who lost their homes.
“We’re going to have live bands, we’re going to have a stage, a little dance area, get-together area. We will have tables, tents, food, alcohol. Beer is going to be included. It’s $100 a ticket, people can come in and just enjoy it,” says Anthony Romeo.
He says that it is the least that he can do for the town that he calls home.
“It’s just something so small that we can do. That we can give back to what Harrison has done to us,” Romeo says. “It’s just a little payback.”
The fundraiser will be held on Oct. 17. Tickets can be purchased online.


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