Thursday 9th July 2009

by monke

The tornado, or tornadoes depending on who you talk to, left a path of destruction unlike Dickinson has seen in years.

Nearly ever elderly person I spoke with while walking around the south side of town and taking pictures on Wednesday night said they’ve never seen weather destruction like what had just happened. Tornadoes and wind not only uprooted trees, the forces of Mother Nature tore apart buildings — mostly homes and apartment buildings. I talked to countless Dickinson residents who will be without homes or apartments for some time. I saw at least four homes that are now uninhabitable. Two were completely gone.

One man I spoke with was standing in his kitchen after his wife and three young children had gone to their basement when a motorhome parked on his lot crashed through the side of his house, nearly hitting him.

Another woman was with her two small children in their upstairs apartment when the roof was ripped off. I walked around with her in the apartment for a couple minutes before she finally said, "It’s all destroyed."

Greg Wilkinson, known by most all as one of the three Wilkinson brothers from the cooky Dan Portor Motors commercials and the owner of Blue Hawk Video, was walking down the street when I ran into him. He stared at a house to the right of us for a moment. It’s garage was ripped off, the car still inside it. "Is that your house," I asked. He said bluntly, "It was."

The devastation on the faces of residents who lost nearly everything said it all. As onlookers descended on Dickinson looking to see a piece of the action, they walked the streets in amazement as the residents of those streets picked up the pieces. I don’t know how many people I saw hugging, or with arms around one another, as if they were trying to figure out if what had just happened HAD really happened.

The only bright spot out of this was that, as of now, it appears that everyone is safe. I talked to some friends from the EMT service who said they had treated people only for minor cuts and bruises.

Now that this ordeal is past us, I believe it’s time for our community to band together, support one another and help our neighbors pick up the pieces. I’m sure in the morning, we’ll see just how extensive the damage really was and there will be hundreds of helping hands needed on the southside to pick everything back up.

P.S. Due to the power outage, there is very little chance you’ll see the print edition of The Dickinson Press in a timely manner Thursday. We’re experiencing an array of computer problems because of the storm. To get all the information from the storm (as well as sports), go to our Web site.

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