Picking Up the Pieces of Golf Course Ruined by Tornado

BENTON, Pa. -- Just one week ago, five tornados touched down across northeastern and central Pennsylvania.

Volunteers gathered on Thursday in Columbia County to help one business pick up the pieces.

Mill Race Golf Course and Resort owner Roy Redner was actually camping on the property when the storm arrived last Monday morning. He said that while they have a long way to go before reopening, the support from the community has been overwhelming.

"We were just getting it back in real good shape and just opened up for the year, and this all happened," said Redner.

The golf community is rallying around Mill Race in its time of need.

"The Pocono Turf Grass Association just kind of rallied together, hosting a volunteer day where everyone from superintendents, to sales representatives in the industry, and just other local volunteers have kind of pulled together," said Dan Bantell of Kingsley. "Spent the day with different resources, whether it's chainsaws, or carts, or tree companies, things like that. Everybody's just here spending the day, lending a hand, doing what they can do."

More than 20 volunteers headed out across the course cutting down fallen trees and removing debris. But while the damage is extensive, the crew at Mill Race remains hopeful after seeing the turnout.

"It's something, that you just can't even imagine, you know, that people would just come and help!" said Diane Brown, tournament manager at Mill Race.

The winds not only damaged parts of the course, it actually brought down power lines, leading to a fire at the clubhouse that left it destroyed.

"The morning of the fire, my husband actually came home and picked me up and took me down to the fire. And then that wasn't bad enough when the sun came up you know, when it was daylight, then we got to see the real damage," said Brown.

With about 800 trees down across the course, the damage looks devastating. But with the community's support, owner Roy Redner promises to rebuild and reopen.

"It's just great how the people in this part of the country, part of Pennsylvania, help the other people," Redner said. "Hopefully, in three months, we'll be playing golf here again, and in three months we will have our campgrounds in shape. We are going to rebuild and it's going to be better than ever when we are done."

Redner says that members who play at Mill Race Golf Course will receive a refund for their summer membership. He says they hope to have a temporary clubhouse open soon so that they can open at least nine holes on the course in the next couple of months.

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