Greensburg 10 years later: Rebuilding not an easy decision

Published: May. 1, 2017 at 3:53 PM CDT
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Ten years ago this week, the people of Greensburg lost the things we take for granted. An EF-5 tornado destroyed 95 percent of the town, including the school, hospital, grocery store, pharmacy and even their library.

“You see how the walls sheared off and the books tumbled and rain came down,” says librarian Debbie Allison.

“I stood there and watched a backhoe take away everything. Every scoop was one of my favorites. It was sad.”

She lost her library and everything she owned.

“We lost our house, our garage, my husband’s shop, every vehicle we owned, church and library.”

She also lost friends.

“There were people I loved we lost,” Debbie says as she fights back tears.

Some of her friends lost their lives in the storm. Others left and never came back.

Rebuilding for most people in Greensburg wasn’t an easy decision. The town lost about half its population.

Residents tell us rebuilding the school and hospital was key, but many chose not to wait and moved to other towns.

Debbie and her husband decided to stay and say the people in Greensburg are determined to succeed.

“I think we made the right decision. There are times we wonder if we would have been better off, but mostly, we think it was the right decision.”

She says it’s been a hard 10 years, but a sense of normal is returning. That normal, however, is a different town than the Greensburg of 10 years ago.

“If I could have the old Greensburg back I would take that, but it's not possible.”