One year after Elon tornado, county leaders call somber but joyous update

April 15 tornado left behind $6 million worth of damages

ELON, Va. – A year later, a lot of the families in Elon have moved back into their homes and some are still rebuilding.

Amherst County leaders say the April 15, 2018, tornado left behind $6 million worth of damage in their community. Thirty families lost everything, but within two days hundreds of volunteers and several organizations were on the ground helping.

"This has been a very high-speed effort, with a great deal of attention. We haven't dropped the ball, we've kept going. And it helps, I think, keep our volunteers engaged," Dean Rodgers, county administrator, said.

With help from the commonwealth the county formed the Amherst Disaster Recovery Group, which has since helped eight families close their cases.

Twenty-two families still need help, and Habitat for Humanity is in the process of building new homes for five families

County leaders say they will keep the disaster recovery group in operation and are ready for the next natural disaster. And they want their progress to be an example to other communities.

"We haven't invented anything new, but we've learned from other places that have been able to apply it. And so I would recommend that other communities work closely with VDEM to do that," Rodgers said.

Next step is cleaning out the creek bed behind homes and the disaster recovery group needs a chipper to help pick up the big pieces. If you'd like to help, contact the Amherst Disaster Recovery Group.

Later this month volunteers will begin planting trees in neighborhoods again.