Tornado Victims To Ride Out Hurricane Irene At Brimfield Campground

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

BRIMFIELD (CBS) – After spending seven weeks hospitalized, Rick Reim moved back to the Brimfield’s Village Green Campground, despite all the painful memories. The June 1st tornado picked his Winnebago off the ground and threw it back down, severely injuring Reim and killing his girlfriend of eleven years, Virginia “Ginger” Darlow.

But Reim and his dog Daisy came back.

“It’s very hard,” Reim says. “I go down to where it all happened and everything, and I shed a few tears and I sit down and think a little bit. But I can’t run from it; it’s the place where it happened.”

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports.

That desire to remain at Village Green includes this weekend, when Hurricane Irene threatens to hit the campground with intense winds and driving rain.

“I had some people call and ask me if I wanted them to come pick me up, but I said I’d rather just ride it out,” Reim explains. “If it looks really bad, I’m going to run like hell.”

Dozens of his fellow campers have come back this summer, and by all accounts they are having a wonderful time. Many of them have volunteered their time and talents, helping to rebuild and clean up. Still, as our video shows, there is much work left to do.

JoAnn Donovan is one of the campers who returned this year — her third time here — and has spent time fixing as much as possible.

“This is my second home,” she explains. “I love camping and I love this campground.”

She, too, plans to ride out the hurricane for as long as she can.

“I could weather it out for quite a while,” she says. “Nothing more I can do than say, ‘Oh my God, this is happening’, and make the best of what happens… I’m not going to panic about it.”

Campground owner Meg Twarowski has been overwhelmed by her clients’ willingness to pitch in and clean up following the tornado. But she can only hope for the best in the face of a hurricane. She describes her campers as “concerned because they just lost a lot of stuff. We don’t have trees to come down on us, so that’s a plus. But we don’t know what the weather’s going to do because the trees aren’t here. We don’t know if we’ll get more wind, or if the trees that are left will come down. There’s concern.”

But Rick Reim remains optimistic.

“You just have to have faith that it’s not going to happen again, not a second time,” he says. The tornado “was a direct hit, that’s one in a million. What are the odds? I really don’t think it’s going to happen [again].”

More from Jim Armstrong
  • Willow

    I think it’s very foolish to assume that anyone can be safe during a dangerous hurricane. This gentleman was blessed when his life was spared, but lost his girlfriend. Why would anyone want to tempt fate when warned to evacuate for his safety. Too bad the dog can’t decide whether to leave or stay. She would probably have more sense.

    I live near this area, and am stunned that anyone would want to endure another dangerous storm.

    • Willow

      I should have added that making such a foolish decision also puts others in danger who may have to do a rescue if things deteriorate quickly.

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