US NEWS GREENSBURG 4 KC

Despite the widespread damage and destruction, spirits are still high in Greensburg, Kan. They were aided recently by members of the First Baptist Church who rolled up their sleeves and went to work rebuilding a community.

Although Greensburg, Kansas was ravaged by a tornado five months ago, the citizens of that area still need help.

For traveling to Kansas and helping a community rebuild, the Greensburg Daily News names the 11-member mission group from First Baptist Church its volunteers of the week.

The team departed at 4 a.m. on Sept. 29 to drive more than 15 hours into the plains. In a phone interview from a building site, Rev. David Thompson described what the group found.

“It looks like a war zone,” he said.

Although time has passed since the tornado struck on May 4, it takes a long time to recover when 95 percent of the town was destroyed. The team from First Baptist depended upon generators to power the construction tools, as electricity has not been restored to much of the area. Thompson said the people of Greensburg, Kan. are living in trailers and using the prefabricated structures for businesses, schools and medical facilities. Looking across the city, he saw block after block of hollow basements. It is clear a city sat on the location, but no buildings remain.

“People can’t even fathom what they are dealing with,” said Thompson.

The courthouse of the Kansas town has a hole where a two-by-four piece of lumber was thrust through it. In addition, the trees have pieces of metal sticking out of their trunks where the material was blown into them in the spring. According to Thompson, when area emergency crews received the first notification of the large tornado they expected 500-600 casualties. This would have marked an even larger tragedy for a town of only 1,500. When the initial cleanup had been completed, only 11 passed away in the storm while many others were injured.

“The people are still grateful to be alive,” Thompson said.

He described a town coming together to overcome tremendous obstacles. Although it is not much to look at, the town remains a home for those trying to move forward in the wake of a terrible storm.

The team from First Baptist worked hard but also had a great time. Group members appreciated the opportunity to give a helping hand to their Kansas neighbors and enjoyed the chance to spend time working together.

“It’s going fantastic,” he said.

The group returned home this weekend, knowing more work will be needed to bring Greensburg, Kansas back.

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