ON THE SCENE: Residents of Greensburg resilient

| 5/9/2007

May 9, 2007, Greensburg, KS – President Bush toured here Wednesday, hugging survivors and surveying damage to this Kansas town, now mostly flattened by the force of a tornado that claimed at least 10 lives.

Photo: Courtesy/Charlie Moyer

On the same day he arrived, residents who’d been wandering the devastated streets began to yearn for life to return to normal.

A couple walked by a pile of bricks that used to be a three-story building, pushing a baby stroller as if they were on a routine walk around town. Many residents, while stunned, appeared to be accepting – even getting used to – the devastation around them.

People here are beginning to work toward returning to life as it was before this past Friday, when a massive tornado, reportedly more than a mile and a half wide, leveled about 95 percent of the town of 1,500.

Formerly an oil industry hotspot, Greensburg is home to a large number of truckers, including six OOIDA members and dozens of Land Line readers.

As of Wednesday, city and state officials were working on getting water and power back to the area.

In addition to the obvious necessities, residents focused on the importance of upcoming events that will help bring their community together.

Plans for the high school’s graduation ceremony are emerging – they know what day and time; just not where it will be held.

Darin Headrick, superintendent of the Greensburg School District, set graduation for 11 a.m. May 19 – giving the school only nine days to find a venue.

“We’ll find a place and it will be a nice event,” he assured residents.

Sunday will mark another emotionally binding event for the community. Church leaders met early Wednesday to plan a single, non-denominational church service.

The resilient residents are obviously ready to move forward.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer