Support continues for Webster residents, businesses following to - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Support continues for Webster residents, businesses following tornado

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

Extensive damage can be seen in the Worcester County suburb of Webster after a tornado ripped through the downtown area.

One condemned building came down Saturday and more demolition is planned.

However, the hope is to make downtown even better than before.

"I woke up Saturday morning, got in my closet for an hour with my dogs.  I was really worried about the tornado," said Tamara Beland of Webster.
Within minutes, a tornado changed the face of downtown Webster Saturday morning.

Now, dozens of residents are left without a home and several business have closed up shop.
"This was more than just a business tragedy.  It was a human tragedy and people stepped up," Beland noted.
Beland is a local radio host and Webster native.  Since the tornado hit, she has been raising thousands to support these small businesses who lost so much.
"You know, even though they may have insurance, small businesses often don't have full coverage and a lot of these businesses are renters, so they might not have coverage and even if they do, it's not going to come right away," Beland added.
Beland is working hard to get money into the pockets of business owners, but sadly, even with the best intentions, with an overwhelming generosity comes a warning.
"There are people who will take advantage of people's good nature, so they will make these funds that the money doesn't go to anybody," said Webster Police Deputy Chief Michael Shaw.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren came to Webster to meet with local leaders behind closed doors and lend support to the community.

Meanwhile, the town is asking for a small favor from curious spectators.

"Bear with us a bit.  A lot of people are coming to the area to check it out.  Just beware, it's a main thoroughfare.  Traffic gets backed up, we would ask people to just stay away," Shaw added.

Clean-up efforts will take time, but their hope is to "try to revitalize the area make it a thriving area in downtown again," said Webster town administrator Doug Willardson. 

If you have a little extra to spare for both the residents and entrepreneurs, "if you know that small business is important in small town America, please donate and we are working with these businesses to get them back on their feet," Beland said.

There are a number of ways you can lend a hand.  

For more information on how you can support rebuilding downtown Webster, you can CLICK HERE.

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