Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Spirit of Greensburg, Kansas

If a tornado was moments away from destroying your house and town, what would you be praying about?

Denis Boyles at NationalReviewOnline tells this inspiring story of how one teenager prayed as a F-5 tornado was roaring through Greensburg:
The minority leader of the Kansas house is Dennis McKinney, a much-admired conservative Democrat who represents the heavily Republican constituency that includes Greensburg. Until 9:45 last Friday night, McKinney had a house in town...

[Soon after the tornado warning was issued, McKinney got a call] from a young man who lived next door. He explained to McKinney that he was too far away and didn’t think he could make it back home in time to take care of his wife and baby. His house had no storm cellar, no place for them to go. Could he tell them they could seek refuge in McKinney’s basement? McKinney said of course. He sent his 14-year-old daughter, Lindy, down to the basement and went out to wait for the woman and the baby.

But it was too late. As his house started exploding around them, McKinney turned back toward the basement stairs. Debris showered down on him; he lost his flashlight. His daughter helped him into a bath in the basement, and he threw his body over hers to protect her. As the house disintegrated above them, Lindy McKinney suggested they pray for the mother and child next door. “And that’s what we did,” McKinney told me. “My daughter — she didn’t pray for us. She didn’t pray for herself. She prayed for the people next door.” The significance was still settling on McKinney. His voice suddenly hoarse, he said, “As a father, I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud.”

When the wind subsided, McKinney climbed out through the wreckage of his home into the darkness and found the house next door had vanished, leaving only a thick carpet of debris. Suddenly, he heard the sound of a woman’s voice crying for help. Working with another neighbor, the two men pulled the mother and baby out. Their only injuries: a few scratches.
Meanwhile, the clean up continues. Reports indicate that the Red Cross and Salvation Army are doing great work. Altell gave away 42 phones and set up a repeater tower in Haviland, so Greensburg residents seeking shelter there could make necessary phone calls. Here in Little River, students from the high school are collecting money to help Greensburg seniors with graduation.

Locally, a day without rain helped flood waters receed off roads. I heard a report of one family whose basement was flooded, destroying a washer/dryer and 3 freezers full of food. A collection is being taken up in the community to help this family.

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