HESSTON, Kansas – Twenty-six years ago on March 13th the town of Hesston, Kansas suffered a devastating tornado.
Before the F5 tornado struck in 1990, hit, Kansans were starting to get more lax about how they responded to tornado warnings since it had been at least two decades since a powerful twister hit the state.
All that changed that March day.
The Hesston storm that day took two lives and damaged 226 homes, including 21 businesses.
Reusser St. and Main St. are one of the main intersections in the city that was hit by the tornado on March 13, 1990. Since that day, city officials are turning that tragedy into a learning lesson for the younger generation.
“So the tornado came from that direction,” said Hesston Public Library Director Libby Albers pointing toward the horizon.
It’s a memory the city of Hesston will never forget.
“It came up through this neighborhood, and you can kind of see as you look at the homes,” Albers said.
For 5th through 8th graders at Hesston middle school, they’re learning about the event from those who lived it.
“I could hear the glass breaking. I could hear the things moving. The walls were vibrating on my back,” said previous Pizza Hut manager, Jason Reynolds. “The door swung open so I had to hold it shut. So I realized that we were getting hit not quit directly, but pretty directly.”
Hesston locals want younger generations to know not only that Mother Nature is not to be taken lightly, but also to know when to help a neighbor in need.
“One of the things that kind of irritated those of us that were cleaning up were people that were just driving by gawking at the situation,” said former music educator Vern Dreyer. “Which is natural human curiosity, and you understand that, but at the same time, get out and help.”