Village Green Owner Rebuilding After Tornado
Lester Twarowski is keeping Village Green Family Campground near Brimfield, Mass., partially open, pushing on with rebuilding after the tornado destruction; he has found his regular campers working with him, and strangers are helping out.
“With this response, I guess I made the right decision,” Twarowski told the Springfield Republican.
When a tornado hit the campground June 1, Twarowski’s entire 100 acres were affected.
One camper, Virginia Darlow, was killed when her RV was blown up in the air. A few other campers were injured; 95 of the 97 campers and trailers at the site were destroyed. Every large tree on the site was blown down.
Twarowski said he now has 50 trailer sites ready for his regular, seasonal campers, and so far 12 have moved new trailers to Village Green, and another eight families have moved back there with tents.
There will be no spots available for transient campers this season, but Twarowski said he plans to open May 1, 2012, with space for seasonal and transient campers.
“It doesn’t happen overnight,” he said.
What has happened in the few short weeks since the storm hit this campground on Route 20 at the eastern end of Brimfield is that family, friends, campers and contractors have worked to clear debris, restore limited electricity for the 20 occupied camp sites, start the process of rebuilding the pavilion and put up a new playground to replace the one that blew away.
Twarowski said that Kloter Farms of Ellington, Conn., the business that has supplied some building materials for him at cost, also donated some display model playground equipment, which was quickly put up and has already been a hit with the children.
“It was the first thing the kids saw when they came back,” Twarowski said.
Then the children and their families helped clean debris from the playground area, and some of them joined him when he planted an oak tree.
“It helps settle the emotions,” Twarowski said of the planting.
The campers who are back have settled in an open area that had been used by those who would pull in off the road for a site.
Twarowski said his regular seasonal campers were used to wooded campsites, but they are willing to stay in what he calls the safari area because they want to be back to camp life for the summer.
A fund-raising campaign started at other campgrounds throughout the state by the Massachusetts Association of Campground Owners (MACO), which has designated the July 4 weekend as “Support Village Green Family Campground Weekend.”
Participating parks are pledging $1 per site to be donated to the relief fund to help rebuild Village Green, and association representative Marcia Galvin said that with a base of 12,000 campsites and pledges of matching donations by some owners, she is expecting strong financial help.
Twarowski said he hopes to use the donations to finish the playground area.