It was exactly one year ago that a tornado touched down in Thurman, Iowa. The damage was immense, but no one was hurt.
In a town where secrets are almost impossible to hide, something like a vacant lot has become too obvious. “It was the gymnasium off of the old high school and it was a lot of memories and kind of a landmark around here and it's all gone.” Glen Travis is Thurman's fire chief and a member of its City Council. He gave Channel 6 News a tour of the town Sunday, showing how it’s changed since the tornado hit April 14, 2012.
“It's like watching a train wreck or something, you can't turn away, it was so horrible." Glen’s wife Susan is still haunted by the memories. “That old trailer on the corner, I could see it going by pieces by pieces." Days later, those pieces were picked up by hundreds of volunteers. “It would have taken us forever, the town, to get that done and those people came until it was done,” said Glen.
The city park has about two dozen new trees planted because the old ones were uprooted by the tornado. “It's going to be a long time for us to get the shade back,” said Glen.
Even though most of the homes in Thurman sustained some sort of damage, the town's memorial to those who have served our country was completely untouched. “Everybody is working on it now,” said Glen. “It's coming back, but it's gonna take a long time."
Glen said part of the reason the rebuilding process continues is some families are still haggling with their insurance companies to repair damage to their homes.