Kansas Teen Revisits Tornado-Ravaged Town

Post a Comment » Written on June 29th, 2007     
Filed under: News
LINDSBORG, KS (June 29, 2007) – Sarah Reece, 15, had been back once to Greensburg, Kansas, where a tornado destroyed her grandparents’ home and leveled most of the town in May.

StormShe returned for a second time June 15 when members of her youth group at the Lindsborg Evangelical Covenant Church made the 130-mile trip to help residents continue their recovery from the killer storm. Twenty-three adults and teenagers participated.

Ten of Greensburg’s 1,400 residents died, as did two others in neighboring communities, when the tornado struck May 4. The National Weather Service estimated the twister was 1.7 miles wide and reached speeds of 205 mph. More than 90 percent of the city was destroyed, and the rest was severely damaged.

Reece says she was saddened to see the destruction once again, but was pleased she was able to help. It was hard for her, however, to see the downtown area flattened. “I remember going to Main Street when I went to visit my grandparents.”

She and half the group helped tear off shingles from one house (accompanying photo) where the owners plan to remain. The crew was able to begin replacing shingles before they left. The rest of the participants raked debris that remained after large equipment had cleared the area. To view additional photos, please see “Storm Damage.”

Church member Mark Janzen, one of the adults who accompanied the teenagers, moved from Greensburg in recent years and was making his third trip back. Part of his former home was still standing. The occupants had survived by taking shelter in the basement, he says.

Janzen says he thinks a lot of the people will try to rebuild, although some have decided to move. Reece’s grandparents finished buying a house in Wichita this week.

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