(Above: Tornado damage in Greenburg Kansas on May 4th, 2007)
As the 3rd anniversary of the Greensburg tornado approaches there are reflections that shine bright. One of those for me is the strength our communities shared with each other. Knowing there was a haven for shelter, food, and most of all faith only 10 miles west or east was a true blessing. The devotion to help our neighbors is God given. Greensburg would not be on the map today if it was not for the people of Kiowa County, and from across our great country.
There have been over 25,000 volunteers from dozens of states, and over 16 foreign countries who have felt the empowering need to assist with the clean up, and rebuilding of Greensburg. Most of us know the emotions of many tears shared with volunteers as we have shared the horrific story of May 4, 2007.
With over 90,000 loads of debris hauled to the landfill, one can only imagine what lays in tomb for ever. I wish this not to my worst enemy to every happen again, but as we all know Mother Nature is uncontrollable.
The New York City Firemen made a great impression with all of us as they gathered monies, materials, and volunteers from across the country to come to Greensburg and build the Big Red Barn. The building of the barn was not the reason why they came to Greensburg. They came to "Pay it Forward". They came to Greensburg because the personal inner needs of each volunteers' desire to help the people of our community. A devotion of thanks from people who have been given.
Each year the New York Says Thank Foundation gives special attention to a community who has been a victim of a disaster. This year Mena Arkansas will be the focal point for our opportunity to "Pay it Forward". Mena was hit hard by a tornado last year. More than 100 homes destroyed, and only 3 lives were lost. This September NYSTHF will build 3 homes, and a 4H building in Mena. Everyone is invited to go to Mena and help with the building.
On May 29th Greensburg businesses will be holding raffles, and silent auctions to help raise funds for Mena. A bank account has been set up at the Greensburg State Bank for those who want to make a donation. This can be your part of "Paying it Forward". Let's show the community of Mena what our community has done.