Cherished memory recovered from rubble means more than ever to Andover family

When 12 News first talked with Sydney Rummery, she shared how a flash drive with the voice of her father was luckily found among the rubble.
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 7:54 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Rummery family is set to move in to their new home Saturday, April 29, a year to the day after an EF-3 tornado destroyed their previous home.

We first told you about the family a day after the EF-3 tornado leveled homes in their Andover neighborhood. When 12 News first talked with Sydney Rummery, she shared how a flash drive with the voice of her father was luckily found among the rubble.

Rummery’s father, Bill Roy, was a staple in the Wichita community, as a leader in many media newsrooms and a friend to any who met him. He died from ALS in January, just two months before the grandchild he recorded a story-time reading for would come into the world.

“When he gave that to us, not even knowing when we’re going to have kids in the future. Just to have that, is so special,” Rummery said of the flash drive. “To have a little piece of him and have her be able to see him and hear him and tell her that he loves her, what a gift.”

With a child on the way, that flash drive means even more to her today than when she found it among the rubble. To fully understand why it’s so important, you have to go back to the moment that flash drive was almost lost forever.

“All I could hear him say was. ‘Everyone’s okay, I’m okay, the dogs are okay. The house is destroyed,’” said Rummery.

One year ago, the EF-3 tornado destroyed her home in just a matter of seconds. When we first interviewed Rummery the morning after it happened, she was still in shock.

“You never think it’s going to happen to you,” said Rummery.

She was cleaning up and searching for her personal items, specifically one that she thought she would never be able to find.

“My dad had recorded story books for my children because he has ALS and his voice is going. He recorded story books on a flash drive that was in my dresser. But the drawer where I kept it, was still there,” Rummery explained at that time.

The paper in which she kept the flash drive in is ripped up by the tornado but the memory-saving device remains untouched. It holds one of the last story times Rummery would ever hear from her father.

“We all knew it was coming but it was so hard. He was the light of our family. To have such a huge personality, a huge, amazing person just one day be gone, it was devastating,” said Rummery.

It’s been a whirlwind of a year for the Rummery family. They’re now set to move back into their forever home on the same date it was destroyed a year ago.

“I feel so lucky to be able to be [Roy’s] daughter and to be able to hopefully to meet and connect with the people who knew him and carry on his legacy in that way,” said Rummery.

She cherishes the moments where she gets to play the recording of Roy reading a bedtime story to her one-month-old daughter.

“We had our first story time the other night and just to have her hear his voice is amazing. After him being gone only two months,” said Rummery.

With every change, one thing will stay the same. The voice of Roy will fill the halls of their family home once again.