Volunteers Pour in to Help Harveyville Tornado Victims

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HARVEYVILLE, Kan. -- The grim work of cleaning up continued for residents of tornado-ravaged Harveyville on Thursday. But despite the tough work ahead, there has been no shortage of hands willing to help.

According to Mayor Dustin Kuntz, 30 homes in the small town about 30 miles southwest of Topeka were completely destroyed by Tuesday night's EF-2 tornado. Another 35 to 40 homes have significant damage, but he says that everyone in town is feeling the loss.

Volunteers Needed for Harveyville Cleanup

"The half that didn't lose their homes have family members and neighbors and people living in our spare bedrooms and on our couches, and you don't see the other half of town that wasn't affected in watching TV," said Kuntz.

One person in Harveyville was killed in the tornado. Richard Slade, described as a town leader, died on Wednesday night after being taken off life-support. He was inside of his home when it was flattened by the storm.

"You can replace bricks and mortar, but you won't be able to replace my friend and my neighbor," said Kuntz.

The residents in the town of 270 aren't alone - on Thursday, hundreds of volunteers showed up to help in the cleanup effort.

"The community, the residents feel very humbled, I think blessed, to see an outpouring of support," said Kuntz.

On Thursday, Gov. Sam Brownback toured the damage. During his visit, he received a phone call from President Barack Obama. Brownback passed the phone to Kuntz.

"(The President) spoke supportive of our community, thanked me for my leadership and other leadership in our community, offered his prayers and words of support, hopefully go to bat and get us a little bit of money," said Kuntz. He says that the money will help, but the volunteers are priceless.

"They said, 'Hey the church needs help,'  we said alright, all of us just came over here and just lent a hand," said Kuntz.

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