by Michael R. Allen
Today Lewis Place, still dealing with damage caused by a New Year’s Eve tornado, received some powerful assistance. The day started when the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published its annual Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. Day editorial on the need for the region to get behind Lewis Place. (Read the editorial,“Dreams in the Wind”.) The eloquent call for action was written by editorial writer Eddie Roth.
At 10:30 a.m., big news was delivered directly to the residents of Lewis Place. Mayor Francis Slay, Alderman Terry Kennedy (D-18th) and United Way Chief Executive Officer Gary Dollar arrived at the 4500 block of Lewis Place to announce that the United Way has created a tornado assistance fund for Lewis Place. Mayor Slay also officially proclaimed today Lewis Place Day and presented a framed proclamation to Lewis Place Historical Preservation President Pam Talley.
Pam Talley talked to reporters about what the neighborhood has gone through between the tornado strike on December 31 and today. Here’s a clip.
A declaration of major disaster in pending at the federal level. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon requested the declaration Friday so that Federal Emergency Management relief funds can be made available to residents of Lewis Place and other areas of the state affected by the tornadoes.
Still the residents of Lewis Place rejoiced today that the region’s largest charitable organization was standing behind them.
Today’s announcement is an amazing show of support, but it’s only the start of the effort to rebuild. I urge my readers to contribute to the United Way fund to lend financial support, and to contact me to donate construction, architectural or engineering services. Even after the last storm damage is repaired there will be work to do — the work that the residents were doing before this interruption.