.Cloverdale Mayor Judd Spencer stands inside the stripped walls of his father-in-law’s house in Cloverdale. The house was twisted so by the Nov. 17 tornado that the interior had to be completely gutted for repair, with the exception of the ceiling of the entry room. (Putnam Sentinel/Anne Coburn-Griffis)
.Cloverdale Mayor Judd Spencer stands inside the stripped walls of his father-in-law’s house in Cloverdale. The house was twisted so by the Nov. 17 tornado that the interior had to be completely gutted for repair, with the exception of the ceiling of the entry room. (Putnam Sentinel/Anne Coburn-Griffis)

CLOVERDALE — Where fallen power lines and debris lay just over four months ago, stacks of lumber are piled neatly along Mahoning Street in Cloverdale. Although multiple winter snowstorms may have halted the western Putnam County village’s recovery from the devastation left by a Nov. 17, 2013 tornado, Monday’s clear skies meant hammers were again on the move.

Just before Christmas, the east side of Cloverdale’s Railroad Avenue was piled with upwards of 40 feet of insulation, splintered wood, metal and other pieces of structures that were demolished by the F-2 tornado as it cut a northeast path through town. “We hauled out 220 loads,” said Cloverdale Mayor Judd Spencer. “The county garage hauled all that out of here. Then here came the snow and we had to quit and put the plows on the trucks. We have 30 to 40 more loads that we’ll get this spring.”

Recent fair weather has allowed more rebuilding activity in the village. Spencer reported seeing several loads of lumber being delivered. “That’s a very positive sign that we’re able to get back with it. But the snows melting and all the ugly’s coming out again,” he grinned. “But we are moving forward.”

On Monday, several contractors were at work, including a crew that moved in and out of a home on the corner of Railroad and Mahoning. The c. 1940 home’s interior was gutted following the storm because the force of the wind twisted the walls. “They just stripped all these walls and squared it up,” said Spencer. His father in law, Larry Sroufe, is the owner.

Along with residential reconstruction, the community will see the restoration of St. Barbara’s Catholic Church. According to Spencer, the Catholic Diocese of Toledo has given the parish its blessing to rebuild the church’s sanctuary. That building was demolished by the storm, as was much of the rectory next door to the north. The parish hall still stands. The parish has contracted with an architectural design firm to begin the design and planning stage of the new church.

“That is a big hunk of glue that holds us together,” said Spencer.

Spring fundraisers are on the calendar to increase recovery momentum. The Ottoville Mothers Club, in conjunction with the Cloverdale Recovery Task Force will hold a picnic box-style chicken dinner, 5K run walk, children’s fun run, silent auction, bake sale and 50/50 drawing on April 5 beginning at 9:30 a.m. Spencer reported that Lock Sixteen, the caterer for the dinner, has printed 2,000 tickets which are now available for purchase for $7.50 each at Express Mart, Fort Jennings State Bank, Main Street Market and the Ottoville State Bank Co. All four businesses are in Ottoville. Race information may be found at www.cloverdaletornado5k.com/events.html and on Facebook.

All donated funds are dispersed to support the town’s recovery efforts through the United Way, said Spencer. “We continually receive donations from businesses and service clubs. That continues to flow.

Cloverdale residents welcome the support. As this winter winds down, they put it to good use. “One thing about this winter is it gave us plenty of time to think it through, to make a game plan,” smiled Spencer.

“When the weather does break, it’s going to be like ants crawling through this village,” he laughed. “Everybody’s got cabin fever and they want to get out and do something. And there’s plenty to do!”