Slow progress keeps tornado survivors positive

BARTON COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – One week after the tornado destroyed his childhood home, Dan Wapelhorst is still coming to terms with the extensive damage it left behind.

“I can’t sleep,” he explained. “When I lay down, stuff runs through my head.”

While he and his wife, Joyce, work to recover from a tragic event, family and volunteers continue to help with cleanup.

“The first day or two, you expect a lot of help and then things kind of fizzle out,” said Allen Karst, Dan’s brother-in-law who’s been helping since last week. “To see this many people out here again today and still plugging away at it, trying to get it ready to go, makes a person feel good.”

Wapelhorst still gets emotional looking at what used to be his home, but he’s grateful for the volunteers.

“So many great people out here to help, people I didn’t even know,” said Wapelhorst. “These guys from the Dream Center are something else. They work and work and work. They never quit. They started here this morning with this whole hole full of junk, and they’ve got it all cleaned out.”

All the hard work is a step closer to a new beginning, as the family prepares to rebuild their home.

“As soon as I see the house sitting out here,” said Wapelhorst. “I’ll be ready to go.”

Until that day comes, he and his wife will continue to stay positive the only way they know how.

“Trust in God,” said Wapelhorst. “He saved my life.”

The Wapelhorsts, like many tornado survivors, want to go back to living a normal life. They know it will take some time, but they want to thank the community for helping them get through a tough time.


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