The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 27, 2001 · Page 8
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 8

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Friday, April 27, 2001
Page 8
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A8 FRIDAY, APRIL 27. 2001 THE 8ALINA JOURNAL Tornadoes / Victims never forget the fear FROM PAGE A1 "1 had the feeling I wasn't going to let this tornado scare me off," Gillmore said. "We were both about 30 at the time. We were still young, and we weren't at a life-changing time." About a month after the tornado, daughter Katie was born, and she consumed her parents' time the first couple of weeks after her birth. When that excitement died down, though, reality finally set in. "People did a lot in those first few weeks, and it wasn't as visible later," Gillmore said. "The loss that you experience and the reaction of people is something like you've had a death." But construction of their new house began that September, which again meant focusing on something other than the loss. "That was exciting, too. It was another step for us," she said. The first anniversary was difficult, but as the years have gone by, those anniversaries have gotten easier For a time, severe weather brought butterflies to Gillmore's stomach, but that, too, has eased. It's seeing, others go through the same thing that remains difficult. "You feel yourself really getting emotional when you hear on television that tornadoes are going through," Gillmore said. "You kind of get flashbacks." The Gillmores worked with Mennonite Disaster Services on cleanup in Andover and Haysville after tornadoes in those cities. "I'd like to think maybe that we're more sensitive to other people, maybe more empathetic," Gillmore said. "I don't think we would have gone to Andover or Haysville if it hadn't happened to us." A sense of closure in Parsons In Parsons, residents recently marked the year that had passed since their city was struck by a tornado by looking at photographs and discussing how far they had come. "It was sort of to give people a sense of closure," said the Rev. Peggy Hillmon, pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church. "Like any kind of major trauma, the feelings will come back, but the effects will be less as time passes." The tornado, which blew through Parsons on April 19, 2000, damaged hundreds of homes and businesses. It lifted the roof from the main portion of the church's sanctuary and set it back down again, leaving holes that allowed water to leak through the roof, ruining wallpaper, carpet, wall board, ceiling tiles and the furnace. Damage to the church amounted to about $300,000. An addition to the church, complet­ ed just the January before, was untouched, though, and Mennonite Disaster Relief workers stayed in that portion of the church while they worked to build homes for low-income residents displaced by the storm. "That was one way our church members got through it — by reaching out to others," said Hillmon, who took over as pastor about three months after the tornado. "Just being able to provide that place was very meaningful to this congregation." The first year after was a difficult one for residents, Hillmon said. Many people who at first rejected offers of counseling later came forward, saying they were affected much more than • they had thought. "We're finding now in the children, and some in the teen-agers, that when the wind blows, they are frightened," Hillmon said. "It didn't surface until we were back in the season, and now, with what happened in Hoisingtdn." Smaller children have spent the last nine months playing tornado on school playgrounds. "Through their play, they kind of work through their anxieties," she said. "But the older teen-agers don't have that outlet." Congregation members are planning a work trip to Hoisington in June — after the flood of volunteers slows to a trickle — and Hillmon said that will be another step in the recovery process. "One man in our congregation has a sister who lost her home in Hoisington, and that's added to our connection there," Hillmon said. "People want to help." Already, city and county workers from Parsons have been helping with the cleanup, and Parsons City Manager Glen Welden has passed on his city's tornado plan to his counterpart in Hoisington. His first piece of advice — don't understate the damage. "There seems to be, in the federal government, a 'CNN threshold.' If it's not on CNN or the Weather Channel, you don't have a disaster," Welden said. For that reason, Welden suggested that Hoisington officials have a damage assessment completed as quickly as possible and ask for a federal disaster declaration — steps that already have been taken. Welden expects the heavy cleanup in Hoisington to take several weeks and the work to obtain state and federal assistance to drag on for months. A part-time worker hired by the city of Parsons to work on tornado relief still is on the payroll. "She's working on a flood plain buyout program now," Welden said. "If we didn't have that, she probably would have been finished two or three months ago." At least as far as the eye can see, Welden said Parsons has, recovered tvom the tornado. "All of the businesses have rebuilt, and most of the houses are repaired," he said. "A year later, I think we can. say we're 98 percent rebuilt. If you; came through here today, you'd be hard pressed to see evidence of the tornado." Once was enough The Gillmore house also has been rebuilt — the family moved in about 11 months after the tornado. But there still are reminders of that March day. Gillmore's grandmother's rocking chair was recovered from the rubble, in pieces, and there are telltale signs of the repairs made by her husband. In a shed on the farm are parts from other pieces of furniture her husband hopes someday to repair. An old, glass vase that survived the tornado is displayed in the new house. Looking back, Gillmore sometimes wonders how she made it through that first year, which she said was the most- stressful of her life. S But, as when someone dies, the survivors go on. "We probably didn't react any differently than anyone else would have," Gillmore said. "If it happened again, though, I don't know what I'd do. "I could do it once. I don't know if I could do it again." Sue / Exhibit will be seen by more than 100,000 visitors FROM PAGE A1 have a serious problem. But this has ensured we'U have a little money in the bank," Choate said. Sue also has put the university's museum on the exhibition map, so to speak. Thursday morning Choate got a call from representatives of film director and producer Steven Spielberg who are working on a dinosaur exhibit to coincide with the film release of Jurassic Park III. It's possible the Sternberg Museum could be a stop on that exhibit's tour. The exhibit is being created under the guidance of Phil Currie of Canada, one of the top paleontologists in the world, Choate said. "They're sending me information by overnight mail. We'll review it and know more probably by next week," Choate said. The follow-up exhibit to Sue at the Sternberg will be an exhibit on the migration of monarch butterflies from the Arctic to South America titled Monarca: Butterly Beyond Boundaries. That exhibit opens May 25 and runs through Sept. 6. The exhibit is being leased from its creators, the Canadian Museum of Nature in Toronto. It will be the exhibit's first showing in this part of the United States, Choate said. "It's probably going to be one of the prettiest exhibitions you'll ever see," he said. Choate recommends visitors anxious to see Sue before she leaves plan their visit for Saturday morning, Saturday evening or Sunday. A number of tickets for Saturday afternoon have already been sold, he said. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 3 through 17 or for seniors 65 and older. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Choate said Sue taught him and his staff a few lessons in handling large crowds, including the power of telephone ticket purchasing. The museum started telephone sales with four operators and four phones. "We ended up with 14 phones and 18 people, and we could still barely keep up," he said. "On our busiest day, we sold 1,000 tickets by phone." Choate said it's possible the museum might contract future ticket sales to a national company like Ticket Master Jana Jordan, director of the Hays Convention and Visitor's Bureau, said there aren't any figiures yet to support it, but the feeling among restaurant operators and retail store operators is that sales are up because of Sue. Jordan said she's spoken to some retailers who've heard visitors say they enjoyed Sue, but they were impressed overall with the museum. "Sue was hook," Jordan said. "But they're so pleasanfly impressed with the museum that I think they're going to come back repeatedly" • Reporter David Clouston can be reached at 823-6464, Ext 131, or by e-mail at sjdclouston@sal Private / Lane, Price give Evans a concert to remember at Blue Heaven FROM PAGE A1 former First Christian Church at 201 S. Eighth. The church's sanctuary is now the studio, and the work of Lane and Blue Heaven owner Chad Kassam to preserve the music of blues legends has received national attention. Jimmy D. Lane, the son of the late Chicago blues legend Jimmy Rogers, is the music director at Blue Heaven Studios and one of the musicians on the locally owned and operated APO Records. His career achievements include garnering public praise from such guitar standouts as Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan. But it was Evans that Lane was garnering praise from Thursday "That was mighty nice," Evans told him after the first song. "Sounds like some of the old boys way back." Lane smiled at the compliment, strumming his electric guitar while Price rested her fingers on the Steinway grand piano in the sanctuary , "That's a high compliment," Lane said. "That's when music was music." ; Evans, in a wheelchair and having limited use of his hands because of carpal tunnel syndrome and lingering effects from his stroke, can't move his fingers over the keys as he once did. But he wasn't shy SPA SERUICE 825-8888 SPA SERVICE Thursday about asking for a turn at the piano. Lane, with help, lifted the older man from his wheelchair and helped him to the piano bench on the dais. Evans pulled several smooth notes from the piano but then struggled to make his fingers move as quickly as he wanted. He lifted his hands from the piano in frustration. "It hurts like aU get out," he said later of his inability to make his fingers work as he wants. "I just sat and watched her play My whole life has changed." The pleasure of listening to live blues, which he caUed his "heritage" brought Evans back to the person he was. After the concert and back in his wheel­ chair in the sun outside the church, he strummed an invisible guitar and sang a couple of bars to kn old blues song. "You made an old man happy," he told Price and Lane. "Somebody up there must love me, getting me here today "I'll be back." • Reporter Kara Rhodes can be reached at 828-6464, Ext. 167, or by e-mail at sJkrhodes@sal Jeep • GMC • Pontiac BENNETT AUTOPLEX, INC. B51S. Ohio/Sallna/785-823-6372/1-800-569-5653 RESTONIC MM We Buy Used Treadmills. PLflv IT oenin 1833 S. 9th / Kraft Manor / 826-4900 On ComfottCare Matti^ssiSets , , / . 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