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7-16-15 An Update on Blue Mountain Elementary Storm Aftermath
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by Tamyra Horst

 
 
Volunteers help clean up BME. Photo by Rick Bianco
 
 
On Thursday, July 9, 2015 at approximately 6:45 pm, a powerful storm struck Blue Mountain Seventh-day Adventist Elementary School (BME), a Christian school in Hamburg, Pa., taking off the roof, destroying the gym, and knocking down several walls of the 46 year old brick structure. Principal Rachel Wardecke was alone in the building at the time. Shaken, but not seriously injured, Rachel immediately told reporters, “Our school will open again.”
 
The BME school board and the Pennsylvania Conference of Seventh-day Adventist leadership are grateful for God’s protection and that no injuries were reported involving any students or staff.  No damage was reported at Blue Mountain Academy, located across the road from BME.
 
Members of the local community, area churches immediately joined the school family, offering prayers and support in any way they could. Area businesses donated and delivered supplies. Walmart contributed cases of water. Lowes, the first on the scene with donations, brought tarps, water and various supplies. Pizza Hut and Dunkin Donuts brought pizzas and donuts for the volunteers. Local contractors offered their services for free—including tree services to remove the damaged trees near the structure. Volunteers worked both Friday and Sunday after the tornado to remove debris and clean the site as much as was safely possible. Even media personnel there to cover a story pitched in and helped with cleanup. Insurance adjusters were quickly on site to assess the damage and are working closely with the Pennsylvania Conference to provide the funds needed for a temporary facility and for the future plans of BME. A demolition company will professionally remove the rest of the building.

The tornado may have destroyed the building, but it did not destroy the future of Adventist education in Hamburg. BME has been serving families in the Hamburg and surrounding areas since 1954 and is committed to providing students an Adventist Christian education that includes academic excellence, social development and spiritual growth. The school will open as scheduled on August 18, 2015. Blue Mountain Academy and Blue Mountain Academy church have both graciously offered the temporary use of their facilities for the coming school year.
 
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a mainstream Protestant church with more than 18 million members in more than 200 countries worldwide. Christian education is an important ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, teaching more than 1.8 million students in more than 7.5 thousand schools around the world.
 
North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists
9705 Patuxent Woods Drive
Columbia, MD 21046-1565 USA
Telephone: 443-391-7200
Fax: 443-391-
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