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Block Party Brings Washington Neighbors Together

WASHINGTON - Local churches hosted eleven block parties for the neighborhoods affected November's tornadoes.
WASHINGTON - Many families in Washington haven't been able to call their neighborhood home since November's tornado, which means they haven't been able to see their neighbors.

Doug Smay hasn't seen many of his neighbors since November.

"I wasn't looking forward to seeing anybody until Spring, when the snow was gone and the contractors start rebuilding," he said.

Since November's tornado took out much of their neighborhood, the Smay's have been wondering what happened to their displaced neighbors

"It bothers my wife a lot," he said. "To me, I just want it to be over with. Get everybody back."

Sunday, Smay and his neighbors got to "hang out" again for the first time.

"People don't know what happened to their neighbors or where they're at," said Calvary Evangelical Mennonite Church Associate Pastor Clayton Tinervin. "The churches are about community, and we wanted to get the communities together and reconnect that way."

So fifteen local churches hosted eleven "block parties" for the eleven neighborhoods affected by the tornado.

At Calvary Evangelical Mennonite Church, neighbors from South Cummins Lane got to get together and enjoy a dinner prepared by "Maria's in Washington".

"It's wonderful," Smay said. "It's really nice. The food is good. The Mayor was here for a little while giving everyone hope. I think it's a good thing. You're looking forward to seeing people in a few months, and you get to see them before then, so it's really nice."

The Smay's have been able to move back in to their home, and they hope their neighborhood can look like a neighborhood again soon.

"You know, it will come back," Smay said. "We're tough people. We're resilient. It'll come back. It's just going to take a while."

And they know their neighbors are hoping for the same thing.

"Washington's kind of a unique community," Smay said. "It is grown a lot since I was a little boy. I think it's neat everyone gets to get together one time. I just hope everybody gets back, and within a few years, everything's back, and my hometown is what it used to be."

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