Warsaw Public Works employees help with Kokomo devastation

When tornadoes hit Kokomo two weeks ago, the Warsaw Public Works Department answered the call for help.

At the Common Council meeting Tuesday night, Mayor Joe Thallemer said he got a call from Kokomo seeking assistance and he asked Public Works Superintendent Jeff Beeler to go down there. He asked Beeler at last night’s meeting to report on the work his group did down there helping Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight and the community. Another group from Beeler’s department is going down to Kokomo today.

The Aug. 24 storms marked the second time Kokomo was hit by tornados in a couple of years, Thallemer said.

Beeler said on that day at about 3:30 p.m. when the tornados tore through Kokomo, he was at a street commissioners conference and Kokomo’s street commissioner was there, but left.

The next morning, Aug. 25, the city of Warsaw received a call for help from Kokomo as did other Indiana communities. On Aug. 26, he called Thallemer and then a crew of five from his department, including himself, responded to Kokomo.

“We did our best effort for them,” Beeler recounted. “We’re now going back tomorrow with a larger group to try to help give them another boost.”

While disasters like the tornados often happen at inopportune times, Beeler said it was “easy to imagine us being them. Second, it’s the least we can do because you never know when it’s going to be us.”

When the first crew of five from Warsaw went down to Kokomo, they initially were a little leery. After their return, the initial crew talked about the experience and more of Beeler’s men and women wanted to help.

“Everybody wants to go so we had to pull a few back,” he said. “It’s our guys and it’s really neat to see how excited they are to help out other people, to be able to go down there.”
Beeler said, “We have incredible men and women at the street department, and I’m really proud of them.”

“The last tornado took eight weeks to clean up. This one was quite worse,” Beeler said.
Thallemer told Beeler he appreciated everything he and his men. “Like you said, it was never a question. It was time to go when we got the call,” Thallemer said.