On the evening of April 1st, we were caught off guard by a supercell thunderstorm that spawned a tornado just a few miles west of our location off Telegraph Road. In a matter of minutes the tornado traveled four and a half miles with an estimated width of 125 yards, coming to its end near the base of our farm.
Our horses were outside when the tornado warning hit and I hid in the hallway under a mattress with the farm dogs and could only hope for the best. Once it passed, a look outside quickly revealed run-in sheds had been flipped over. I ran down to the fields to put eyes on all the horses, who were all on their feet and really looking surprisingly nonplussed considering what just went through. After the rest of the storm passed and I was able to assess the damage, we found sections of fence down under fallen trees and debris, as well as our two large, wooden run ins upside down in the fields, one of which had been picked up and thrown more than 50 yards. At least one hay hut had exited its field as well, though that's less surprising. With the power out as well, volunteers quickly showed up to help me bring the horses in and check everyone for damage. Two superficial scratches aside, the horses were all unscathed and happy to come in and eat hay and have access to their water buckets.
Faced with large buildings displaced and sections of fencing destroyed, trees down, and some other minor damage closer to the barn, we were at a loss for where to start.
Enter: The 6th ESB, Bulk Fuel Company B of the Marines! On April 5th, after the ground had been given some time to dry out enough to be worked on, a crew of 13 came to the farm with a skid loader, chainsaws, and a lot of grit and determination to get things set right. They made quick work of clearing the debris off the fence and creatively and carefully restored the buildings to their proper orientation as well as position in their pastures. A few of our staff and ATR volunteers were also there and were in total amazement at how much was able to be accomplished in one day. We would like to formally thank all of the following for their help: SSgt Chalaraca, Samuel and his sons Angel and Sebastian, 17 and 13
SSgt Martinez, Matthew
SSgt Bailey, Kyle
Sgt Moton, Coy
Sgt Adams, James
Sgt Davis, Bryson
Sgt Pavatt, Muluken
LCpl Munoz, Alexandria
LCpl Baiselcharivukalayil, FNU
1stSgt Leach, James
You can see some of the evidence of their hard work below!
I also have to give a big thank you to Stephanie Malin for providing an amazing lunch for our workers from Malin's Deli in Newark, Delaware. She brought delicious subs and chips from her deli and fed the troops! Lastly, we want to give a big thank you to everyone who has donated so far to our fundraiser for repairs. It's covered the cost of new fencing materials and is also going to help reseed/reestablish pasture that was ruined in the storm and aftermath of the horses being moved to fields that were supposed to be resting. For anyone still interested in donating, checks can be mailed directly to After the Races, 3168 Telegraph Rd, Elkton, MD 21921 or on our Facebook fundraiser found HERE. We can't be more grateful for how everything turned out and how quickly the Marines came to our assistance. And a big thank you to 1st Sergeant James Leach for organizing their efforts!