Homecoming takes on special meaning for Eureka

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EUREKA, Kan (KAKE) -

It was homecoming in more than one way for the Eureka tornadoes Friday night: they returned to their home field for the first time since a tornado in 2018 destroyed their stadium. 

Tornado sirens sounding off in eureka Friday night...this time, bringing triumph.

Justin Zimmers, crowned homecoming king, is looking up, taking it in, and leaving it all out on the field.

"I know that I'll never take a home game for granted ever again. I only have a few games left and the clocks ticking so I'm going to take advantage of it," says Zimmers.

The last time this team played at home was 2017.

On June 26th, 2018, an EF3 tornado ripped through eureka...damaging homes, their field and their high school.

It's a day alumnus Deb Burtin will never forget.

 "Within 10 minutes of leaving that ball field the tornado went right down that street right where we were standing," says Burtin.

Now, September 27th, 2019 is a day she'll always remember.

"Its been a long time rebuilding. We need this. We need our boys on our field. We need to be at our home field....it's very emotional to see our kids back at home," says Burtin.

From alumni, to current students, a night bringing everyone together.

It's sophomore Mia Miller's first ever home game.

"It's so hype. Best thing I've ever had. My high school experience is complete," says Miller.

It's been a journey to get to this moment.

And a milestone this town will cherish, showing everyone what 'Eureka Strong' is all about.

"It was long for sure, a lot of adversity but we've faced a lot of adversity in the past and I think we were built for this, it's finally our time to show everyone," said Zimmers.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

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