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Picking up pieces

GREENSBURG Kan. — Clean-up work in Greensburg continues following a tornado that almost completely destroyed the community Friday May 4. Some 140 volunteers from the Wichita and Derby Kansas Stakes spent Saturday May 19 helping residents of the small Kansas town. Greensburg is part of the Wichita stakes Pratt Branch.
Many volunteers assisted Erica Goodman a member of the Pratt Branch and owner of a downtown antiques store. Her three-story brick structure was destroyed. However many items in the basement were salvaged.
Several volunteers helped prepare the property to be bulldozed while others worked on reclaiming and cleaning salvageable bricks that had been torn from the structure.
Sister Goodmans daughter had a vintage clothing store in the city that was also destroyed.
Wichita Stake President Gary M. Craig said We have six families of our Pratt Branch living in Greensburg. Five of the six families homes were completely destroyed. The sixth home was severely damaged but can be repaired. Fortunately all of our member families survived the devastating tornado with no significant injuries.
The entire city is without color stated one of the volunteers The trees were completely stripped of bark limbs and leaves. Any grass and flowers are covered with debris. The city is various shades of black brown and gray.
The wedge tornado which struck Greensburg at 9:45 p.m. on May 4 was reported to be the most severe tornado in recorded Kansas history. It cut a path of destruction about a mile-and-a-half wide with winds of more than 205 miles per hour. The tornado was on the ground in Greensburg for more than 20 minutes. Ten people died as a result of it.
Church members were some of the first to respond to calls for help following the disaster. Almost 200 members of the two stakes had been trained by Sedgwick County as part of the countys Community Emergency Response Teams. Twenty-five of the CERT trained members were asked to respond to the first call for help for two days following the tornado.
The members of the two stakes have been involved in fund-raising prior to the clean-up activities of May 19. Church members plan to help in Greensburg for months to come.
Photo courtesy Erica GoodmanAntiques store before tornado …
Photo by Dave Prouix… is cleaned up by members and volunteers who are also salvaging bricks.

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