Greensburg coming back from destruction

Like so many of their family, friends and neighbors, the Gambles still have plenty to do before their farmstead looks and functions like they want. They believe it?ll take a couple more years. Ki and Kim?s 100-year-old farm is located about one-half mile north of Greensburg. On May 4, 2007, an EF-5 tornado ripped through the Kiowa County farming community stripping it bare of homes, businesses, huge trees and entire farmsteads. The Gambles were among those who experienced extensive damage.

One year later on the evening of May 2, the Gambles threw a tornado party in their new metal farm building. The structure measures 70 by 160 feet long with 18-foot high sidewalls. It?s half shop and half storage. The new building stands where the old barn and silo used to and exemplifies the progress the family is making to restore their farmstead. ?You can?t rebuild a farmstead overnight,? Ki says. ?It takes years. The good thing is we are building a modern up-to-date facility we can use into the future.?

The Gambles consider themselves lucky. Although the storms took most of their out buildings, bins, turned a tractor trailer 90 degrees with the wheels sticking out, destroyed a windmill, twisted up three pivot irrigation systems and pulled up one mile of fence, the family rode out the storm and escaped unscratched.

After the storm, people came from all over the country to help. They walked fields for debris and helped clean up the mess around the Gamble farmstead.

?This celebration is a time to stop and be thankful for what has been accomplished during the past year, for God?s grace that has sustained us and to spend time with those who have helped us through,? Kim says. ?Words cannot express how so many people have touched our hearts.?

Ki says he wakes every morning feeling happy to be alive, happy to be farming and blessed to have good crops and good crop prices. As for the tornado experience, he says, ?I really don?t want to do it again.?

Like her husband, Kim is excited about what is happening with friends, neighbors and their community. Her children will be going to a new state-of-the-art school and she believes community leaders are providing vision for the future and opportunities for the next generation to stay on and live.

Before the tornado, Greensburg was like a lot of small Kansas towns, Kim says. The population was dropping, young people were growing up and leaving and nothing was being done to encourage economic development.

It?s a different story today, she says. The whole community is working on the same ideas and goals for the future. Homes are cropping up all across Greensburg.

Eighty-year-old retired farmer Bob Peck sees his community rising from the ashes. Peck says it?s because of the community?s people. He believes it?s important for people to be true to their roots and stay and grow where they?re born and raised or planted.

?We have the greatest people in the world,? Peck says. ?They?re the best. Clean to the core. We know we can depend on one another. With the help of the good Lord we?ll make it.?

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