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Fundraiser raises over $21,000 for Whiteland tornado recovery

WHITELAND, Ind. (WISH) — Almost two weeks ago, a tornado ripped through the town of Whiteland leaving a path of destruction. “It takes a village” seems to be the theme as Hoosiers continue to help each other.

On Wednesday, many from the area showed up for a fundraiser, which took place in the parking lot of Bailey & Wood Insurance Group in Whiteland.

The event was an opportunity to grab a bite to eat, with all types of food like burgers, hotdogs, chips, and drinks available, but with the goal of receiving donations for the families affected by the tornado.

Over $21,000 was donated for those affected by the Whiteland tornado.

“I was very impressed when I pulled up. There wasn’t really even parking, there were so many people who came out,” Mary Sayler, a Whiteland resident affected by the storm, said.

“Just so close to home. How can you not help out?” Ron Bitcock, a Greenwood resident, said.

“Just looking out to the front door and seeing all of it, we knew we had to do something. My dad was just like, ‘We need to do something. We need to raise this money,’” the Events and Social Media Director at Bailey & Wood, Bailey Wood, said.

Wood says the fundraiser “just kind of happened,” with her family providing their own grill for the event. Wood also says she is sympathetic to those in her community affected by the storm.

“Our grandparents’ barn is completely gone, so we spent almost a whole week going through our personal belongings and sifting through it all, so, I sympathize with everybody in that position,” Wood said.

When the tornado struck, Joseph Sayler, his wife Mary, and nine children were inside their home.

“We lost a good portion of the garage roof, garage door, three trees, a portion of the house roof, and then a couple of windows,” Joseph said.

“It was over and done so quickly. As soon as the windows and the wall started shaking I went, ‘Quick, quick! Let’s get the kids downstairs.’ So, yeah, it was very fast,” Mary said.

The Saylers say they are thankful for the community’s outpouring of support.

Mary told News 8, “It was really a testament to the kids, too. They were like, ‘Wow, Mom. People are bringing us food and they’re coming to help us. There are so many people!’ Yes, because they love us! It’s really beautiful.”