Harveyville Sees Streams of Volunteers, But Also Need For Financial Assistance

United Methodist Church destroyed in EF-2 Tornado
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HARVEYVILLE, Kan. (WIBW) - Dump trucks were everywhere in Harveyville Friday as load after load of debris was being removed from sites damaged in Tuesday's tornado.

"It looked like we made good progress yesterday day to remove debris," Mayor Dustin Kuntz said.

'Right now we're kind of still in clean up mode, very blessed yesterday with over 500 volunteers," Kuntz said.

210 loads were moved to a temporary landfill just east of the town yesterday.

We've got to probably 30 homes that are totally gone, that's probably a third of our community, I'd say close to another third is damaged severely," Kuntz said. "This event has impacted our whole town.

But among the ruins, people found treasures.

Pastor Dennis Irwin and volunteers were digging through the ruins of the United Methodist Church, which had collapsed Tuesday night. He found his desk and chair still standing and a collection of 700 books on a CD.

"There it is," he exclaimed. "We call it a glory sighting when you see things like this, because it shouldn't be here," he said.

Senator Jerry Moran toured the town Friday morning, a day after Governor Sam Brownback had visited. He said he wanted to
Moran says the community is rallying around Harveyville.

"The story that's always true is how people come to the rescue of others and we saw that here in Harveyville," Moran said.

Moran expressed his condolences for the Slade family. 53-year-old Rick Slade died from injuries he sustained when his house collapsed on him during the storm.

Moran also thanked all the volunteers. "It's a sign of Kansans and who we are," he said of their work, "And especially small town Kansans, how we work on behalf of people we know and people we don't know."

Mayor Kuntz says Harveyville citizens are a proud people, but it is a struggling community.

"There's a fear right now that while it's been a huge devastation to Harveyville, there may not be enough financial damage to qualify for FEMA funding," Kuntz said. "A lot of that is yet to be determined and I'm not optimistic about it. And i am an optimist," he said.

Federal funding does not come through, he says that community support is critical.

"People are gonna have to rely on each other, they're gonna have to rely back on their faith in God and put their trust in god to help them get through things," he said.

And just as if he needed prove that the situation is never hopeless, over at the church, a stained glass window was uncovered, almost entirely intact.

" To me its reaffirming that this church needs to be here, Pastor Irwin said.

Relief organizations said the critical need at this time is financial. They are calling for monetary donations to help fund the recovery efforts either through the Red Cross at www.redcross.org or by calling the United Way's 211 information line.