Students Help Farmers Clean Up Tornado Debris

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Monday, May 21, 2012

As the school year counts down its final days, some Kansas students are putting in some extra work on a lesson outside the classroom. On Monday, students loaded onto a bus and headed out to help clean up farmsteads damaged by Saturday's EF-3 tornado that tore a path through parts of Harper County.

Nearly three dozen junior high students lent a hand in Monday's clean up effort. Harper Elementary School Principal Bill Giesen says helping the community is a lesson in itself.

"This is a good chance for them to do some community service and come out to help some people who've been in this area for a very long time," said Giesen.

Those who turned out to help were impressed with the tornado's destructive force. Students like 7th grader Zach Stierwalt say seeing the damage up close made a big impact.

"It's pretty sad because there were a bunch of memories in that house and it all got taken away," said Stierwalt.

Several homes in the area received damage, but the hostetler family's farm was hit the hardest. Bobbi Hostetler says they are still coming to terms with what happened.

"The reality of it is it still hurts, but we're all safe and we praise God for that and we still have people showing up to help," said Hostetler.

The tornado destroyed farm equipment and scattered parts of out buildings throughout nearby wheat fields. Many students helped by walking those fields and picking up debris. With the harvest just a few days away, the last thing farmers need is to run over debris and damage more equipment.

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