Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Greensburg in the News Again

As the one-year anniversary of the tornado approaches, Greensburg, KS, is once again in the news. The CBS Early Show is broadcasting from there all week long. The focus is mostly on how the town is rebuilding "green" (read: environmentally friendly). In fact, some of the guidelines that have been set down for their funding include requirements for just that.

But in between all the "how to build green" stories are stories of people who are rebuilding their lives. People who are strong and tenacious. Some of those people I've known all my life. If you see the "beautiful people" photos they cycle through, you'll see the face of one woman with dark hair and glasses. I know her as Sister Helwig. She was my Sunday school teacher when I was very young. You see, I grew up on a farm about 15-20 miles from Greensburg.

I shopped at the grocery store that is now a shell. I took piano lessons from two women whose homes were destroyed. (In one photo, I could see through the roof--which no longer existed--to the upstairs bedroom where I took guitar lessons from my piano teacher's daughter. This mother and daughter also happen to be the aunt and cousin of one of my brothers-in-law.) I went to 4-H fairs at the community building that is gone. I frequently walked on Main Street, and I sat through several bake sales and sat on several parade floats on that same street. (Anyone who is familiar with the Memorial Day weekend parade, art festival, etc. can relate!) I attended services and was married in a church building that is now marked only by an empty basement. (The new church building that was built in recent years was also destroyed, but they are rebuilding.)

As I watch the Early Show, I see the faces of school students who are the children and grandchildren of people I've known, well, since I can remember. I see the residents, and recognize familiar faces among them. I attended school in nearby Mullinville, but Greensburg is the hub of the community. It is so strange to see empy lots and rubble in the place of what "once was".

If you'd like to see photos, updates, or find out how you can help, the Early Show website has all that information. Also, my other blog, Thoughts Along the Journey, has links in the sidebar.

Thank you, Early Show, for keeping Greensburg in the news. They are rebuilding, but there's still a lot of work to do...


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