Devlin torn apart by storms

The old cliche–“three strikes and you’re out”–almost described the Devlin/La Vallee area last Tuesday as three storms and perhaps a tornado roared through the villages.
The first storm hit about 6:30 a.m., showing signs that this wasn’t a typical storm for our area as several willow trees were ripped out of Martin and Twyla Darrah’s driveway.
A second storm hit about 2 p.m. with hard rain falling and strong winds.
Then about 7:30 p.m., the most extreme conditions hit our area. What seemed like a tornado (although that hasn’t been confirmed) literally demolished several buildings.
The storm appeared to hit the south part of Devlin first, with extreme damage being done at the Keith and Willy Caul homes. Their riding barn was ripped down, their backyard along with their pool was totalled, and several other buildings were flattened.
Bob and Carol McLean also suffered damage to their farm while Wallace Hughes suffered much damage to his long-time, well-maintained farm as he lost his steel building and a barn.
The storm moved southwest to southeast.
Our local Devlin Hall had excessive damage done to it, both inside and out.
Bonnie and Sam Benjamin, along with Mike Caul, experienced severe damage to their homes and out buildings on Hall Road. The storm also hit Cemetery Road with full force, flattening Glenn Galusha’s barn and causing damage to his roof.
The storm then continued to rip more willow trees out by the roots from Darrah’s driveway.
Les Caul’s residence literally “looked like a jungle” after the storm as tree after tree lay in his yard.
The storm also hit the elk farm–the entire roof was torn off a barn belonging to Bill Darby. A large trucking garage that was still in the construction stage was flattened. The business belonging to Langevin Trucking was up McTavish Road.
Northwest Bay also experienced much damage, with the roads being closed until Friday evening.
Jim Carmody and Mark Lafleur had a lot of damage to their roofs. Mark told me as the storm escalated, one could see the windows in his home flexing.
Several people were without hydro for 30 hours, and folks were without telephone service. Many long-time residents said this was the worst storm they had ever experienced.
I was told by many residents that as the storm raged on and the conditions worsened, they went to their basements with their families.
Many people who were hit hard told me they were in shock as they walked around their farms Wednesday morning. Tears were shed as people saw 45 years of work and money having gone into their homes and farms.
And yet everyone knew in their hearts that everyone was okay–and there were no animals hurt–which is the most important thing.
Early in the hours Wednesday morning, you could start to feel the support of friends and community as people drove around and stopped to see how people were.
I stopped by the Devlin Hall at 5 p.m. and Bob and Emma were busily vacuuming up water in the hall as several people were on the roof. Jody Caul shared with me that the help they have received from friends and neighbours plus family has been overwhelming.
Monday, several people pitched in and by Monday evening, Jody could heave a sigh of relief and say their home and farm was all cleaned up. But she also knows it’s a long road ahead as there is a lot of fencing to be done plus building new barns.
Waiting on the insurance companies to give their final estimates also is stressful. But all in all, Jody said you can now see there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Even when you feel overwhelmed by an event like Devlin/La Vallee experienced last Tuesday night, we will survive thanks to the help of our community.
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Recent Devlin slo-pitch results saw Variety Pack beat Good Vibrations (July 30), Upnorth down Village People (Aug. 1), and the Blue Jays upend the Jokers (Aug. 2).
Of course, the game July 31 was stormed out.
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Robin’s 2¢:
Women have a passion for math: they divide their age by two, double the price of their dress, triple their husband’s salary, and add five years to a best friend’s age.