#175. Opportunity (?) Blew Into TownPosted on
May 4, 2008 marked the one year anniversary of the massive EF-5 tornado that set down in the town of Greensburg, KS, virtually wiping it off the map. Ninety- five percent of the homes and businesses were destroyed. My first visit to Greensburg after the tornado was in July of 2007. It was one of the most emotional trips, and most difficult talks, that I have done.
Greensburg was in a very unique position as it set its sight on the future. Most towns do not get an opportunity to rebuild their town with the vision and wisdom to last for generations into the future, and to rebuild exactly as they want themselves to be. A big part of that vision for the future includes “going green”. Greensburg is the first city in the United States to approve a resolution that all city building projects will be built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum level standards.
On May 4, 2008, Greensburg residents celebrated their progress with groundbreaking ceremonies for a new church, a business complex, and a ribbon-cutting for the water tower and arts center. The festivities also included a visit from President Bush, who was the commencement speaker at Greensburg High School’s May 4th graduation ceremony.
I was pleased to receive a note recently from Steve Kirk with the local Centera Bank, who was instrumental in bringing me to Greensburg last July. Steve told me of the Can Do Action Team, inspired by my message to the residents of Greensburg just two months after the tornado. This citizen-volunteer group made the cover of USA Weekend magazine as one of the nation’s top 10 volunteer groups for Make A Difference Day. The Can Do Action Team was responsible for most of the local organization of the anniversary weekend events.
Greensburg is coming back! I am looking forward to my next trip to Greensburg!