Note brings neigh­bors closer af­ter tor­nado

Record Observer - - Community - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@kibay­times.com

STEVENSVILLE — In Bay City, res­i­dents are still re­cov­er­ing from the af­ter­math of a tor­nado that ripped through the area in July. One home­owner, Karen Gal­lagher, was dis­placed while re­pairs to the roof and struc­ture must be com­pleted be­fore she can move back in to her home.

Gal­lagher said she an­tic­i­pated be­ing out of her home for at least six months, but her fam­ily was able to se­cure a rental close by. Re­cently, Gal­lagher said she had been go­ing in and out of “tor­nado house” as she calls it, haul­ing be­long­ings to the rental house and gen­er­ally feel­ing over­whelmed by the thought of be­ing out of her home for the hol­i­days, when she went to check the mail­box.

In­side the mail­box was a hand-painted rock and writ­ten note that con­sid­er­ably lifted her spir­its, said Gal­lagher. The out­side of the card was a draw­ing of Gal­lagher’s house with a man on the roof hold­ing a ham­mer. When Gal­lagher opened the card, she found a note from Sofia As­saro, a 10-year-old girl from Gal­lagher’s neigh­bor­hood. The note read, “Dear Neigh­bor, I’m sorry for your loss. I’ll pray that your house will be fixed soon.”

Gal­lagher said when she read the note, she found her­self cry­ing at her mail­box, touched that this lit­tle girl was think­ing of her neigh­bors.

“I was thrilled that some­one would think of me,” said Gal­lagher. “Although, we are very thankful we were not hurt, this [tor­nado] was the scari­est thing, I have ever lived through.” The storm sent the joists from the front of Gal­lagher’s house through the back of the house, she said.

Gal­lagher wrote back to Sofia to thank her for her kind note and was later able to meet Sofia and her mother Kim, whom she had not met be­fore, even though they shared the same neigh­bor­hood. Sofia’s fam­ily was not home when the storm came through, and when they came home, they were for­tu­nate to find their house had not been dam­aged.

But Sofia was over­whelmed for con­cern for her neigh­bors, said her mother, and wanted to do some­thing to do help. When she came up with the idea to leave brightly painted rocks and notes for her neigh­bor’s whose homes had been dam­aged, her mother agreed it was a good idea.

Sofia left notes for sev­eral other neigh­bors, but Gal­lagher said she is afraid sev­eral of them had not re­ceived them yet be­cause they had not been back to their homes.

“She is a fine lit­tle girl,” said Gal­lagher, “and has lifted all of our spir­its .... I’m so glad we have got­ten to know each other.”

In Bay City, res­i­dent Karen Gal­lagher was the re­cip­i­ent of this note and painted rock from neigh­bor Sofia As­saro.

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