HAMPTON, Va. – Tornadoes ripped through the town of Hampton on Friday night, causing an estimated $3.4 million in damage. Operation Blessing, headquartered in nearby Virginia Beach, responded at daylight on Saturday morning to check on the residents of Hampton and offer our help.
The community was buzzing with activity and the sounds of clean-up. Trees were strewn all over streets, yards, and even through homes. The community was in high spirits in spite of the damage and all they had gone through the night before—everyone was friendly and appreciative of our help. There was a “close-knit” feel to the town today as we walked the streets talking to residents and getting to know them. We loved seeing neighbors checking on each other and pitching in to help one another.
When we arrived, tents and vendors’ kiosks for the local Blackbeard Festival were collapsed and scattered everywhere. But by the time we pulled out of town they were all set up and running again. It was really amazing to see the community transform in a matter of hours—a true picture of community resilience and a rallying point for the neighborhood.
We installed “blue roofs” (tarps) on homes with substantial roof damage and gave additional tarps to families who needed them, then did some basic debris removal.
For the most part, the families we encountered had insurance, but many will have to wait for their insurance companies to employ roofers before receiving the help they need. So the blue roofs were a huge blessing to these families because they will protect their homes from rain in the meantime.
“It was such a blessing today to know that someone came out to try to help us,” said Vernice, a local resident. “Operation Blessing stands for what it means–it is a blessing, most definitely.”