Amherst County volunteers stepping up to help school guidance counselor

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ELON, Va. (WDBJ7) -- Wednesday was the first official day organized volunteers were allowed into the tornado torn communities in Amherst County.

Organizers say more than 500 volunteers signed up to help, including some who are on a mission to help a special person.

Patricia Mead was sitting in her living room around 7 p.m. Sunday night not realizing minutes later, she would lose her home. “My dog was with me and I said, ‘Fluffy, we’ve got to get to the basement,’ and as soon as we got to the basement, the house was gone," explained Meade. “I did not hear anything until it actually came and I came downstairs.”

Now, three days after the EF-3 tornado touched down in Elon, the clean-up efforts are in full force by the whole community. “It’s just a matter of taking care of our own and doing what we can to help," said William Wells, the Amherst County High School Principal.

Wells has been on the ground since disaster struck Sunday night. He’s now coordinating volunteer efforts. “It’s just important for us to give back," he said.

Give back to those the High School community calls family.

Mead has worked as one of four guidance counselors at Amherst County High for years. So, when students, faculty and staff learned her home was in the path of the tornado, they jumped into action. “You separate household things from the debris," explained Robert Curd the school's athletic director. “Pat’s three or four doors down the hall from me so we certainly want to do all we can to help her out.”

“There’s been so many I just can’t name em all," said Meade looking at all the volunteers in her yard.

And all the volunteers, showed up to help the woman who is usually the one doing the helping. “Our goal is to bring a trailer back this afternoon and load this up in the trailer and store it for her," said Curd.

Organizers say of the more than 500 volunteers on Wednesday, more than 200 consisted of Amherst County High School students, faculty and staff.

At this time, officials say their volunteer and clean up needs are met.