Saturday, July 14, 2012
Four months have passed since tornadoes ripped across the Midwest and Kansas, including the Wichita metro area.
That same night, Woodward, Oklahoma, was devastated by a deadly EF-3 Tornado. A check belonging to a Woodward couple traveled all the way to Hutchinson Kansas.
Junior Klima found the check in his yard as he was mowing a few days after the tornado. Saturday, he got the chance to meet the couple it once belonged to.
"We're lucky that they're alive," Klima said. "They could've been gone through that terrible storm."
Klima reflected as he waited Saturday morning to meet Bob and Anita Starling. They were on their way to Hutchinson from Woodward.
"They lost their neighbors, but they survived," Klima said. "They've got another home now and they're doing well. It's going to take a while for them to get like it used to be. But thank the Lord that they didn't lose their lives."
Bob and Anita were looking forward to the visit as well.
"It's really nice to meet Junior, finally," Bob Starling said. "It's finally nice to meet him and put a face with the voice."
Klima and the Starlings have spoken over the phone several times in the past few months after Klima found a check belonging to the couple in his yard.
"I taped it together right on that little counter and it said Woodward, Oklahoma, and I thought, 'My gosh. That's got to be right where that tornado was.' And sure enough," Klima said.
"Driving up here, we realized just how far that is and how incredible that is," Starling said.
As they chatted, the Starlings spent some time showing Junior photos of the damage in Woodward. They say their community has started the recovery process.
"Everything is well on the road to recovery," Starling said. "The town is putting back together. People are rebuilding or moving into other houses. It's going well, I think."
Junior says he's happy to get the chance to meet someone he likely never would have known were it not for the sometimes freakish power of nature.
The Starlings say it will be a life-long connection.
"It's an unusual way to meet somebody, but it's a powerful connection," Bob Starling said.