This past week we were reminded of what makes Walker and surrounding areas a special place to live, work, and grow. As we have several times over the years, we had part of our City impacted by the tornado and high winds that came through West Michigan. While the impact was more pronounced in the northern part of our City, the damage was significant. Less than 10 minutes after the confirmed tornado touched down, our teams from the City including our Fire, Police, Public Works, and Engineering Departments were either all on scene, or en route.
While we try our best to plan for weather events like this, sometimes we do not know what we have to do until we are on scene. When it was safe, crews quickly removed limbs and trees from the road. We received help from our mutual aid partners in public safety. They staffed two of our fire stations while we dealt with downed wires and tackled a structure fire. We were also able to help our neighboring communities that were hit much harder.
In addition to our City staff and neighboring partners, the attention we received from Consumers Energy and the many workers brought in from other areas and states was greatly appreciated. Over the weekend, crews restored power and all roads were open. A special shout-out to our team at the City, who not only opened the public works yard for storm debris drop-off but got out to some of the more affected neighborhoods to pick up brush and limbs.
One of the best stories was that of a contractor scheduled to do some road work in Alpine Estates on Friday. Because of the storm's aftermath, they couldn't do the work that day. Instead, they brought their crews and equipment and helped our City clean up from the storm. The project was still completed this week, yet they brought that roll up your sleeves and get the work done attitude that Walker is known for. It was hard to keep track of the number of stories like this, with neighbors grabbing chainsaws and other tools to help each other out. Yet, every one of them was special on their own merits.
This month, I believe it is appropriate that my message be a simple one of gratitude for all these stories and those we might not have heard about. My wish is that they resonate with you like they did with me and give us pause to reflect on all that we are blessed with.
As always, thank you for deciding to call Walker home.
Mayor Gary Carey, Jr.