Village Green Campground Rebounds from Tragedy
When it comes to rebuilding Village Green Family Campground in Brimfield, Mass., which was smashed to pieces in the June 1 tornado, owners Lester and Margaret Twarowski have ambitious goals and have made some progress, but there are individual decisions and realities to face each day.
Moving seven trailers recently to their original sites, with water and electric hookups, was a major accomplishment, and there are plans to have about 55 trailer lots ready for occupancy before the snow flies, Springfield’s The Republican reported.
Those are major steps.
Village Green took a direct hit from the tornado, and 95 of the 97 campers and trailers there on June 1 were destroyed, along with some of the camp buildings, including the store and check-in office.
One camper, Virginia Darlow, was killed when her Winnebago motorhome was lifted up into the air and crashed on landing, and her boyfriend, Richard Reim, was left with six broken vertebrae, a concussion, bruises and scrapes.
Almost all of the trees on what had been a wooded campground were knocked down.
But a few dozen campers, including Reim, stayed for most of the summer in an area of the campground at the northern edge, close to Route 20, and worked with other volunteers and the Twarowskis cleaning debris and starting the process of putting the campground back together.
“It has been an adventurous summer, but one that I don’t ever want to repeat. I am very grateful about the people who have helped us,” Margaret Twarowski said.
Most years the campground closes Oct. 15, but this year those who are still here will be allowed to stay until it is time to shut off the water to keep the lines from freezing.
“The people that are already here know what our plans are, and they are helping us reach them. We are running out of good weather. They know what we are in for,” Twarowski said.
The plan for the 2012 season is to open to the general public with about half the campground in use.
Twarowski said that would mean having about 55 lots in use, those between the pond and Route 20.
Water lines and electrical lines will have to be extended to those and hooked up, and some buildings will have to be demolished.
Twarowski said she is hoping to have a new camp store and check-in office built, but if that has to wait another year they will bring in a trailer for the store and office.
They are also hoping to have the walls up for a new pavilion, so there can be work on the inside during the winter.
“I tend to have ambitious goals,” Twarowski said.
But she is also aware that they can’t do everything at once.
“We are not going to concentrate on the back half of the campground,” she said. “That would be too much to expect.”
And the annual “Trick or Trunk” Halloween event they have run for 15 years, where children have gone from car trunk to car trunk in Halloween costumes, had to be canceled for this year.
The Twarowskis bought the campground in 1993, and Margaret Twarowski said what faces them now is like starting over again.
“They say that in business, if you can make it through the first five years, you are good to go,” she said. “We are doing it again.”