LINWOOD, Kan. — Thanksgiving marks six months since an EF-4 tornado ripped through Leavenworth and Douglas counties.
Some of the worst damage was in Linwood, Kansas, where an estimated 50 structures were damaged.
Six months later, tall weeds stand in some places where homes used to be. What was left of other homes have been demolished leaving just foundations along Highway 32.
At Lincrest Farms just up the road, the Leaches’ home was spared for the most part, but their dairy farm wasn’t. Twenty cows were killed, at least a dozen barns and outbuilding were destroyed.
Six months later, the first of those out buildings has been framed, but life is now very different on the farm. The dairy cattle raised to be show cows had to be sheltered around the state as they work to rebuild 4 miles worth of fencing.
“It’s certainly changed because instead of taking care of cattle every day, we are rebuilding every day,” Rob Leach said.
“You just pick up and you move on. You aren’t going to get better feeling sorry for yourself,” his wife Lisa said.
But unlike many of the dozens of families who lost homes in the tornadoes, the Leaches will eat Thanksgiving dinner in their kitchen. A kitchen where the clock is still stuck at the moment the tornado hit. There’s cracks in the walls and a hole in the ceiling, but there are four walls and a roof.
“We’ve got a lot to be thankful for, just the fact that we are still here and still have our home,” Rob Leach said, adding he was thankful no lives were lost in the devastating tornado.
It’s one day to rest, in an otherwise endless effort to get back on their feet.
“What took us a lifetime to build is not going to get rebuilt in 6 months,” Leach said.