Sunday, August 17, 2014

Not in the news but Not forgotten - Pilger, NE

After dropping my son off to college, I just had to go to Pilger, NE to see how the town was doing after the horrible June tornadoes (yes two) that so heavily damaged the area. They have been on my mind a lot over the summer and I was curious as to how the clean up was going.

I can honestly say I have only good things to say about the people in the area.  You do not see these people sitting around waiting for FEMA to show up. You don't see them asking for hand outs. You don't see them sitting on their front porch waiting for someone to bring them their next meal.

What you do see are typical Midwesterners with their amazing work ethics getting down to the business of rebuilding their community and helping each other out. You can't keep these people down. They just pull themselves up by their boot straps and get to work. They are not waiting for government hand outs.

The cleanup is complete in the town. A lot of farmers still have cleanup to complete.  I wonder how they will harvest their crops with all the debris left in the fields. I did see a lot piled near the edges of the fields but I am sure there is a lot still out there. Many such details no one thinks about post-storm.

Visiting the town for me was a very somber experience. I just wanted to do something to help each and every person. Yes, I had all ready given $$ through our church but driving through the town I wanted to do more, even if it was give someone a hug. That is how driving through the town made me feel.

I wanted to take photos to share with everyone to see what has happened to the town and people after it is no longer in the news. I felt so guilty for taking pictures but it wasn't to take advantage of anyone, rather I want to pay homage to these strong and wonderful people!!!!

So here is how the town looks as of mid August 2014 - two months post storm.

This is on the west edge of town. All the debris from the clean up is stored here. Those two trees are so sad to look at but they are still standing compared to the 100's of trees wiped out by the tornadoes. 

Here we have some semi remains. I am assuming the local CO-OP or local trucking firm owned these.  I also saw a Ford truck on my drive that looked like some giant monster had taken it, rolled it like play dough between its hands and tossed it down. It is beyond belief how these huge pieces of equipment look like crumpled little toys.

No one is out of line at all when they say downtown is gone.  There is the library and a couple other buildings still standing. The rest of main street consists of dirt lots. This building has the big OK sprayed on it so I am assuming that means the building is structurally sound. Even so, it is going to take a lot of work to get is usable again.  There were two buildings on this side of the street that had OK sprayed on them and were still standing.

Across the street from the above mentioned two buildings is the library you see in this next shot. It looks to be a fairly new building. I took the photo because the sign on the wall brought tears to my eyes. If you can't read it, it says Cali Dixon lives forever. That sign is paying tribute to the 5 year old girl killed by the tornado on main street.

Now to try and find something positive to write about, it is in this next photo. I am sitting on one of the streets in the town where the tornado went through. The road runs east and west but the tornado went southwest to north east. On the left side of the photo you see there is NOTHING. The tornadoes destroyed it all. On the right side of the photo you see a couple trees and some homes still standing.  But you will also see all new power lines up and a grain bin put in all ready! The grain bin looks so forlorn by itself but the folks were working hard to get some storage built before harvest which will arrive soon.

This next photo is on the north west side of town. The city's water tower was spared from the storm. I thought it was a beaker of hope that the town is far from dead. The local swimming pool was also saved from destruction. 

This final photo is of a farm north east of the town about 2  miles farther along in the tornadoes path.  The house was spared although heavily damaged but most of the outbuildings and trees are a total loss.

Today was uplifting when I saw a blurb in our church bulletin about making small packets for the folks in this town. I am happy to see that I am not the only person thinking about the folks in this area. God Bless not only the people in Pilger but also all the farmers surrounding the town struggling to rebuild. We have NOT forgotten you.

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