PORT ORCHARD, Wash. - Nearly a week after a tornado tore through more than 200 homes in Port Orchard, many are still working to clean up the mess, and the community is working to help the victims.
In a neighborhood off of Harris Rd SE in Port Orchard, dozens of people are outside. These neighbors are not out to enjoying the beautiful Christmas Eve weather. Instead, they’re still dealing with what the weather brought their community last week.
“This was our home, and now it’s nothing,” said Christopher Raymond.
Raymond says when the tornado hit his street he was lying in bed. He said just a few minutes later a massive tree crashed through his roof almost crushing him.
“I don’t know how we lived,” he said.
Raymond’s home is destroyed, but he says he still feels lucky.
“We’re alive no one got seriously hurt, we all have a chance to rebuild. To me that’s a miracle,” he said.
On Christmas Eve, instead of wrapping presents, Raymond worked to salvage anything the tornado did not destroy. But he was not alone.
A handful of friends worked with Raymond, carrying keepsakes and mementos out of his home. Throughout the neighborhood it was a similar scene at several homes.
The sense of community support stretched throughout the town.
Not far from Raymond’s neighborhood, a restaurant called That One Place was open on Christmas eve.
Looking at the town of Port Orchard from the seats of the restaurant, you would have no idea a tornado destroyed parts of this town less than a week ago.
However, just because the damage is out of sight, it was not out of mind.
“We have so much to be thankful for, to give back to our community is really important to us,” said Brad Kennedy.
Kennedy’s son is the owner of That One Place.
Last Thursday the restaurant provided free meals to anyone affected by the tornado.
On Christmas Eve, they gave away free turkeys and hams.
The turkeys and hams were donated by Bruce Titus to the restaurant.