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Ellis Wood crew helps Effingham cleanup
After March 16 tornado, Boro business sends equipment, manpower
cleanup LeadWeb
A crane helps clear debris from a home in Effingham County destroyed by a tornado March 16. Crews from Ellis Wood Construction in Statesboro, including this crane, traveled to Effingham Saturday to donate their equipment and time to help with the cleanup effort. - photo by PAT DONAHUE/Courtesy Effingham Herald

A convoy of more than 100 Bulloch County volunteers traveled Saturday to Effingham County, joining others from across Southeast Georgia to help residents recover from tornado damage which occurred during a sweep of storms across the area March 16.

             Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn, local business owner Ellis Wood and others from the community joined forces and took both manpower and equipment to the area.

            Wood, who owns Ellis Wood Construction, led a work crew to  the Ebenezer Road area, removing twisted trees and  the mangled remains of two mobile homes. Workers also joined others from local construction companies to help in Effingham County's Wylly Road neighborhood.

             The group from Bulloch County was comprised of "a blend of volunteers from several local agencies" including law enforcement, public safety and other local businesses, Wood said.

            While most of his crew went to Effingham County, some traveled to Wrens in Jefferson County, where the line of storms wrought havoc as well.

             This effort followed others in the past when volunteers took equipment to help citizens recover from storm damage in Charleston, S.C., Macon, Camilla and other areas, Wood said. “The nucleus of this crew has been doing this since the late 1980s ... in a lot of different places.”

            Wood said he contacted Effingham County Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie "to see if  there was a need for what our volunteers can do," he said.“We focused on situations where we knew we could help with people and equipment.”

            Wanda Rogers, who owned the two mobile homes that were destroyed, was in Metter at a livestock sale when  the storms swept through. She expressed appreciation for what the volunteers were doing.

            “I can’t put into words what’s in my heart,” she said. “My heart is real full in knowing there’s so many good people out there.”

            McDuffie also praised the volunteers.

            “This says a lot.  “This is what this country is all about, people coming and helping in a time of need.”

            Wood agreed.  “This confirms there are a lot more good people in the world than there are bad,” he said.

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