Jenison neighbors help each other clear storm damage

Ottawa County

GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The day after a one-two punch of storms pummeled West Michigan, people in hard-hit Jenison started cleaning up Sunday.

Neighbors helped each other cut up fallen trees and move branches from yards.

“All this being done right here like this was done by neighbors, not by tree companies, but by neighbors coming together, bringing their chainsaws over here and just doing a whale of a job,” David Hoek, who lives along Park Lane Avenue off of Baldwin Street, said, pointing to debris in his front yard.

On Saturday, a microburst uprooted and toppled trees in Jenison and even ripped apart part of a home, but there were no reports of injuries.

One tree fell in Hoek’s front yard, just missing his home and garage. Another fell on his deck.

“I’ve had my pool fence blown down a couple times but nothing like this,” Hoek said.

>>Photos: Storm damage

Next door, neighbor Margie Kranenberg was dealing with more downed trees.

“It looked like a war zone,” she described. “Trees, limbs, debris… My pool cover ended up almost to Baldwin (Street).”

Kranenberg said that after several transformers blew, a tree in her backyard fell into her pool.

While working Sunday at a local gas station, she mentioned the damage to a frequent customer. Within a few hours, the customer went to her home to help.

“I came home from work today, I got out at 3 p.m., and they had the tree completely out of the pool,” Kranenberg said.

“You kind of feel lucky that you made it through and you kind of feel obligated to help people out who didn’t,” Warren DeHaan said after cutting the tree down. “I was so amazed by how the community came together and people helping people not knowing who they are.”

Several other neighbors were going door-to-door offering food. One family was handing out free hot dogs. Neighbors also mentioned a mother and daughter driving around offering ice pops.

“The community is really coming together and supporting each other and it’s been great to see that,” Kranenberg told 24 Hour News 8.

The neighbors said that while losing homes and material possessions can be tough, they’re grateful everyone is safe and they have such a caring community to lean on. 

“This has always been a nice neighborhood but I never knew how great these people really were,” Hoek said.

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