Upper Dublin teacher organizes thousands for community cleanup after Ida

Barbara Mass is a teacher at Upper Dublin High School, which was also damaged in the storm and led to weeks of virtual classes.
FORT WASHINGTON, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Three weeks after Ida, the slow road to recovery in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania continues.

More than 100 homes have been cleaned up with the help of Barbara Mass and "The Chainsaw Gang."

"We really didn't understand that this is a tornado. We live in Pennsylvania. We didn't know what was coming," said Mass. She says it hit her when she went into her own backyard after the storm and saw two large trees were knocked down.

"We chopped it up and put it to the curb and then my neighbors across the street, the Longs, I was like, 'Hey can we do theirs?'" she said.

That day-long effort turned into a Facebook group with 5,000 volunteers wanting to help their neighborhood.

SEE ALSO: Upper Dublin Township community coming together to rebuild after storm
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The long and difficult cleanup effort from last week's storm is also underway in Upper Dublin Township.



"It just started to grow, and then it started to grow even bigger, and then people's houses who we helped, they joined in," she said.

Mass is usually out helping, but on Wednesday she was coordinating the clean-up efforts from home.

"This is my classroom right now. This is where the magic happens," she said pointing at her kitchen table.



She's a teacher at Upper Dublin High School, which was also damaged in the storm and led to weeks of virtual classes. The district is no stranger to that because of COVID-19.

"Being a part of 'The Chainsaw Gang' and all the rock stars that are helping the community, I think had we had not have had that, it would have been different for me. But I feel like more myself now than I have in two years," said Mass.

While the past couple of weeks have brought a lot of hardships to Upper Dublin, Mass and the other volunteers say they've gained something too: a stronger sense of community and new friendships.

"Our community has become stronger, better, just a more positive place to be," she said.

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