Medora welcomes new tornado siren

MEDORA — In December 2021, sirens alerted residents of Bowling Green, Kentucky, as a cluster of three tornadoes tore through the city.

As the town marshal for Medora, Jeff Walters did not want to imagine something like that happening there, especially since at the time, there was no tornado siren within the town.

“Something sparked in my mind that night after the tornadoes hit in Kentucky,” he said. “Medora didn’t have a tornado siren, and with that going on in December, we needed one.”

Walters’ mission to install a siren in town kicked off with first contacting Medora Community School Corp. Superintendent Roger Bane.

“We started putting our heads together to come up with some ideas,” Walters said.

Walters admitted their first ideas didn’t work out, but he was determined to see the process through.

“I was struggling, and everything we tried just kept getting shot down,” he said.

With his position on the 911 board and recently graduating from Leadership Jackson County, Walters saw a lot of doors open to opportunity and connection that could help him in his mission.

Walters turned to Seymour Fire Department Chief Brad Lucas, who at the time was in the middle of replacing two sirens within the city.

Walters said with the help of Lucas, who talked to Mayor Matt Nicholson, the city ended up donating a tornado siren to the town of Medora.

“Without that donation, it would have been a huge expense, and we saved a ton of money doing this needed project,” he said.

With the tornado siren in possession, next came the installation process. Walters said George Berry with Jackson County REMC donated equipment and manpower to install the pole that came with the siren from Seymour.

The next step involved lifting the siren and attaching it to the pole. That part of the project required about $2,000.

“Thanks to Brad Robinson with Mitchell & Stark Construction, who donated equipment and a crane to hoist the siren to the pole,” Walters said. “Bobby Bowman with Bowman’s Tree Service donated his time to actually attach the siren to the pole.”

Watts Up Electrical did its part in hooking up electric to the siren to make it finally functional.

The siren is located and connected across the street from the school and next to the school’s garage.

Walters said the school agreed to pay for the little bit of electric required by the siren.

A year and a half later, Medora’s tornado siren joined many others in the county during the monthly siren test in June of this year.

“The siren has been activated at least three times since June,” Walters said.

During a Medora Town Council meeting Monday night at the town hall, Walters announced the final step of the project is in the works. That involves installing a switch to activate the siren from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department dispatch center.

“Currently, we are being activated with Seymour, but once this switch is installed, Crothersville, Freetown and Medora will all activate at the same time,” he said.

Walters said with help from Josh and Todd LePage along with Nick Klinger, assistant director of the Jackson County Emergency Management Agency, it’s being installed at the sheriff’s department.

With the community donating their time, Walters said he also wanted to thank those who provided funding, such as the Community Foundation of Jackson County, Owen-Carr Township Community Fund and Jackson Lodge 146 Free & Accepted Masons.

“I just have so many people to thank for helping me with this project,” Walters said. “It really does take a village.”