10 years later: Stars of Hope still bringing inspiration, hope to Greensburg

GREENSBURG, Kan. (KSNW) – Today marks the 10-year anniversary of a tornado that reshaped the community of Greensburg.

On May 4th, 2007, an EF-5 tornado tore through the town and today, many people here are continuing to heal from the disaster.

However, the community is also paying it forward, making sure other communities that have been struck by tragedy have a little hope.

For the past two days, Stars of Hope USA has been in Greensburg, helping school children of all ages bring hope to their community and others.

The organization started in 2007, when the Vincent family from Groesbeck, Texas brought 238 stars to Greensburg in December of 2007.

Ever since, they have brought light to 126 communities in 22 countries.

Thirteen-year-old Greensburg resident Charleigh Friesen has some memories of the night the tornado hit her town.

“It was really bad, we were going around helping people out of their houses, there was so much debris,” said Friesen.

Friesen does remember what she first thought after it happened.

“Oh my god, why did this just happen, what is this that just hit us,”  said Friesen.

However, a simple concept, a paint brush, a dab of paint and a star shined light on an otherwise grim situation for Friesen.

“I was like four, four or five and we painted a lot of stars that year,” said Friesen.

Marcelle Robustellie Strong is the Program Manager for Stars of Hope USA.

She says the children get to express themselves by doing this, calling it healing through art.

“It touches not only the person that is making the star, it touches how many other people see that star every time they pass it or look at it,” said Robustellie Strong.

For Friesen, the star she created is heading to Ashland, where wildfires burned two months ago.

She’s hoping the message she put, turns a setback into a comeback, has an impact.

“Make them want to continue rebuilding and not to give up,” said Friesen.

Robustellie Strong says the stars made the past few days will be put up in 10 different communities, including Canton, Texas, where a devastating tornado hit last week.

Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download our News App and our Weather App for your phone and tablet. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.