By Chad Damp (firstname.lastname@example.org)
6:38 PM EDT, October 18, 2010
NAPPANEE - People in Nappanee are remembering the day Mother Nature left a path of destruction through their city three years ago today. But life isn't completely back to normal as another kind of disaster has many wondering what the future holds.
The late night tornado destroyed homes and businesses along a 20 mile path through three counties. More than 100 buildings were damaged or destroyed in Nappanee. The people came together and rebuilt, then tried to return to life the way it was. But just as the town began to heal, more dark clouds appeared, this time in the form of the recession.
Losing everything you have quickly or slowly, either way is tough. But in less than a year's time, many people in Nappanee experienced both. Shortly after 10pm on October 18, 2007, an EF3 tornado ripped through the city. LaWanda Borkholder and her husband were in their home when the roof was torn off by the 165 mile-per-hour winds.
"We heard the boards creaking,” says Borkholder. “We were standing in the hallway when our roof went."
The family rebuilt their home, but their troubles weren't over. Less than a year later, LaWanda lost her job when Monaco Coach shut down. She hasn't been able to find steady work since.
"It was hard losing my job, you know, when they shut the doors,” says Borkholder. “That was hard, but I got over it and I like being at home. It doesn't pay the bills, but (laughs)"
There are few scars that remain from the tornado, but the city is still trying to heal it's economic wounds.
"Looking back, the tornado, as difficult as it was,it lead us through the recession somewhat,” says Nappanee Mayor Larry Thompson.
The one-two punch of the tornado and the economy may have hung a dark cloud over Nappanee, but LaWanda and the rest of the town know that blue skies will come again.
“You learn to not take things for granted and appreciate everything you have,” says Borkholder. “You know, family, friends, things you have and you realize not everything is material."
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