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Fundraiser to help Oatland Island Rebuild after July Tornado

It's been a little over a month since an EF-1 tornado came whipping through the Islands communities in Chatham County.

The Oatland Island Wildlife Center was damaged by the twister and is still closed to the public, but they're trying to bounce back. Several fundraisers are being held Tuesday night to help.

From 5:30-8 p.m., a portion of the proceeds at Tubby's Tank House in Thunderbolt and Molly McGuire's on Wilmington Island will go toward Paws and Claws United to help pay for rebuilding efforts at the Wildlife Center.

Areas around the bobcat enclosure have been repaired, the exhibit site is ready to be re-fenced, and several boardwalk areas have been repaired. However, there is still work to be done. That's where the fundraising events will help in a big way.

"There's obviously lots and lots of damage, lots of areas that...unexpected costs that have come up," said Heather Merbs, Director, Oatland Island Wildlife Center. "And we really appreciate that. The community has been great, has been reaching out to us, and the support from the community has just been wonderful."

Merbs says the Friends of Oatland Island group has been one of those independent organizations stepping up to help. The total dollar amount of damage hasn't been calculated yet.

The longer the center stays closed, the more revenue they miss out on.

"This also involves a loss of revenue for us. We haven't been able to do any of our revenue generating problems as well as just our general admissions," Merbs said.

A re-open date has not yet been set, but the center's director says they do have a goal.

"I would like to think that we might be able to have our Halloween Hike this year because that's one of our really important fundraisers and it's also just a really popular event, so that's what we're pushing for," Merbs said.

Friends of Oatland Island also has a Facebook page where they're taking donations.

Click the photo to see the video.


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