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Originally published: July 19, 2021

Veteran volunteers help elderly Omahans, those with disabilities clean up from storm

Veteran volunteers help elderly Omahans, those with disabilities clean up from storm Tornado-strength winds from the July 10 storm downed trees and large limbs and scattered smaller branches. The debris blocked streets, damaged property and contributed to 188,000 power outages, the most ever, in the Omaha Public Power District service region. OPPD restored power to all affected customers by Friday evening. Local officials are seeking state and federal disaster aid to help with the recovery. Mike West, an incident manager with Team Rubicon, flew in from Denver. He and Mayor Jean Stothert held a joint press conference Sunday morning at the Subby Anzaldo Columbus Park Community Center at 1515 S. 24th St. West said he was familiar with the Omaha area after spending about 70 days here helping after the 2019 flood. This time, he expects to spend about a week in town helping with technological support, identifying cleanup sites and mobilizing volunteers. “We’re on the ground as long as we can support the local team’s goals,” West said. “The great thing about Omaha is that everyone works well together, including the city, the United Way, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and a lot of other organizations.” About 150 people have called the United Way’s 211 phone line seeking help with storm cleanup, West said. Part of his job will be prioritizing residents with the greatest need.

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