It took a direct hit from an EF3 tornado and lost nine days of production, but Spirit Aerosystems never missed a delivery deadline. On Monday Boeing, one of Spirit's biggest customers, came to town to say thanks.
It looked like a concert, with free T-shirts and beach balls bouncing around the crowd. It wasn't typical activities on the first shift at Spirit, but workers have reason to celebrate.
"What you guys did as a result of this event builds confidence in the customers in ways I cannot begin to tell you," said Boeing Commercial Vice President Kent Fisher. "Thank you so much."
Spirit never missed a deadline during tornado recovery efforts. 165 mile-per-hour winds hit the plant, causing 10 million square feet of roof damage and knocking out power for 91 hours. Still, workers were back on the line within nine days.
"You really get a sense of what the power of these people are and the commitment that they have to our community, our company and our customers," said Spirit Aerosystems President Jeff Turner.
"All through the chain it is based on trust and in an event like this and the recovery that spirit showed was incredible for building that trust," Fisher said.
Spirit had hoped to broadcast the event live to other plants across the nation, but that's one area that hasn't been fixed yet. Since its not a critical need, its further down on the priority list
Tornado damage is still visible at the plant two months later, and repairs are on-going.
"Every time we get a hard rain, we find more spots to fix," Turner said.
Turner knows it will be many months before the facility is back to what it was before the storm, but he says the spirit at Spirit is stronger now than ever before.
Spirit has another reason to celebrate. Sunday marked it's 7th year of operation in Wichita.