Residents of Moore, Okla., seem determined to rebuild their town, devastated by an EF5 tornado on Monday. But as residents of other towns hit by natural disasters know, they have a long road ahead of them.
Bob Dixson knows that well. He is the mayor of Greensburg, Kansas, a town of about 1,500 people that was leveled by a tornado in 2007.
Residents undertook an enormous effort to prevent the disaster that flattened their town from blowing it off the map as well. They didn't just rebuild; they improved. Greensburg is committed to becoming "stronger, better, greener."
Rebuilding is exhausting, expensive work, but as one resident of Smithville, Miss. — another small down rocked by an EF5 tornado in 2011 — put it: "You can come back after an EF5."
LEARN MORE ABOUT TORNADO RECOVERY:
• Long term recovery experts look to Greensburg, Kansas as an example
"Meteorologists later determined that the eye of the storm took nearly two minutes to move across town. As it slowly churned, it effectively lifted an entire city 60,000 feet in the air and then scattered it for the next 20 miles. Five years later, Greensburg is considered one of the best examples in the nation of how communities can recover from a disaster." (Daily Mountain Eagle)
• Kansas Town's Green Dreams Could Save Its Future
"Danny Wallach began rallying the effort to make the city more energy efficient just days after the tornado hit. 'I mean, it literally struck me, green — Greensburg — and at the time, I wasn't aware of just how perfect the timing in the national green movement was,' Wallach said. Wallach heads Greensburg Greentown, a nonprofit group leading the push for environmental sustainability in Greensburg." (NPR)
•Heroine in the Heartland
Those who knew and worked with Jane Cage were not surprised when she stepped up to lead CART. As a Joplin businesswoman she had always served her community — including membership on the boards of the Humane Society, the chamber of commerce, First Presbyterian Church and St. John's Regional Medical Center — the hospital, destroyed by the tornado, where her late husband had received care. She has a gift for connecting with people, they said, and an inherent ability to build consensus. (Wake Forest Magazine)