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Kansas tornado destroyed CU employees home
READING, Kan. (5/31/11)--A tornado that ripped through Reading, Kan., and surrounding areas on Saturday, May 21, took the home of an Emporia State FCU staffer. Judy Sorenson, a member services representative at the Emporia, Kan.-based credit union, was on vacation with her husband when the severe weather hit. Her son and daughter-in-law, who were at the Sorenson house in Reading, took cover in the basement. No one was injured, but the house was destroyed, said the Kansas Credit Union Association (KCUA). Emporia State FCU staff have gathered food and supplies for Sorenson, who is staying in a nearby hotel. Throughout the week, staff continued to help the community clean up and salvage items from the rubble, while the rest of the employees covered for them back at the credit union. In addition to food, supplies, and a helping hand, staff donated money in support of Sorenson. The credit union set up a fund for donations. For more information, call 620-342-2336. Andrew Smarsh, a member service representative at the credit union, helped with the cleanup. "I have never actually helped out personally with someone who has lost a lot of their belongings," he said. "You could definitely tell where the tornado traveled…on one side of the road, rubble and belongings where a house stood, and on the other side, the house's windows were just blown out and minimal damage done to the house." Branch manager Angie Miller said she is overwhelmed and amazed at the willingness of the staff to help their co-worker. "The board and staff have been wonderful," she said. "Their generosity simply can't be matched--they've donated their time, physical help, monetary help, made food, and taken care of Judy at both the storm site and her new motel home." Sorenson has worked at Emporia State since 2005 and has been a member of the credit union since 1971. Her father had been a member since 1960, and her two sons worked at the credit union part time while attending Emporia State University. The credit union had about 60 members in Reading. Roughly half were affected, ranging from no losses to total car losses, to residences and rental homes either damaged or total losses, KCUA told News Now. The credit union is offering a small, short-term 30-day notes at 0% for members with damage covered by insurance, if requested. Reading, which has a population of 250, is located 20 miles northeast of Emporia, Kan. About half the town's 10 homes were destroyed, as well as half the businesses. One person was killed and five injured, said KCUA.
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