Gaylord Tornado (MI)

Start Date: 05/21/2022


A tornado struck Gaylord, MI on the afternoon of 5/20/22 and the Otsego County Emergency Operations Center was activated.. On Saturday morning, 5/21, the State Emergency Operations Center was activated and the Michigan State Police Voluntary Agency Liaison met with members of Michigan Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters. HOPE is a member of MI-VOAD. At 1 PM HOPE teams were requested to deploy to the EOC in Gaylord and Nicholas Meier and Ischgl arrived at 4 PM.

While Teams Darby and Ella, along with TL W. Engelter were en route, Meier met with the Incident Commander to assess the need for HOPE teams. Meier also visited the Red Cross shelter and Volunteer Reception Center to do a needs assessment as well. Remarkably, because the community is very tight knit, there was no need for HOPE canines at the shelter. The rest of the HOPE teams arrived and we met to plan our deployment the next day.

TL Engelter participated in the planning meeting the next morning, then briefed the rest of the teams on our action plan. Because of the support for the victims from the community, there was no family reunification center or any other grief center established and the EOC stood down that morning. With the assistance of the Director of Animal Control, we visited the MSP Dispatch Center and Otsego County EMS. We ultimately ended up at a mobile home park where there had been two fatalities and the majority of the park was destroyed. HOPE teams deployed into the park and gave comfort to the victims who were returning to recover their property.

Teams cleared Gaylord at 4 PM

Agency: Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security

Nicholas Meier and Ischgl; Carrie Jones and Darby; Becky Engelter and Ella