Governor Dave Heineman traveled to the Pilger area Tuesday morning to survey storm damage caused by Monday’s severe storms.
The Governor monitored the tornadoes and severe thunder storms on the northeastern side of the state from NEMA’s Emergency Operations Center in Lincoln Monday.
Heineman has declared a state of emergency and National Guard troops are available.
The governor said, “It's devastating to see it from up above but this community is resilient and they are going to come back together. I'm confident they're going to rebuild but we've got a lot of damage."
Rebuilding will be a big task. With the majority of the town's infrastructure reduced to rubble, some residents say they're not sure if it's possible.
Brandon Eckert told us, “Everybody says Pilger's just too tough to die but I don't know if this is it or not. We'll see.
“This one did not hesitate to come down and touch the ground and take the town with it."
James Duncan, chairman of the Village Board, said they'll try to the end.
“I think that we'll come back fighting," he said.
The Stanton County Sheriff called it, “total devastation.” Three-fourths of the town is tangled in mangled grain bins, upended trees and flattened homes.
On Tuesday, families were allowed to walk to their homes to assess the damage and retrieve what they could. Approaching the town, each neighbor echoed similar sentiments.
Eckert said, “It's terrible. It's devastating."
Duncan said, “It's unbelievable. It's plain unbelievable."
Duncan has lived in Pilger his whole life. On Tuesday, all that was left of his home to retrieve were a couple pairs of jeans.
"The way that was taken off at the foundation, I don't even know where to begin to look," he said.
Others stuffed trash bags, suitcases and backpacks with important papers, clothes, and whatever they could salvage.