Fairdale tornado survivors gathered Saturday afternoon to remember the devastation their small town saw on April 9th, 2015.
The town thanked first responders and volunteers, marveling at how far they’ve come since that day.
“We couldn’t be ‘Fairdale strong’ if it weren’t for you,” said Yvette Peek DeWispelaere, daughter of victim Jackie Kolsa. “So thank you for believing in us…because we believe in Fairdale.”
Clem Schultz lost his wife, Geraldine, in the tornado, moments after recording terrifying video of the twister bearing down on the town, from his bedroom window.
Schultz says the last year has been hard, but it has given him a new perspective on life.
“I don’t know why I’m still alive, but I’m glad,” said Schultz. “And since I’ve been granted a second chance, I’m doing everything I can to be as good a person as I can be.”
Several memorials were dedicated during a special ceremony today, including a bench at their newly-constructed park and a plaque in front of a new flagpole.
Tom Barone – whose home was mostly spared in the tornado – decided not to rebuild. But he says days of remembrance like this are what help move the community forward.
“It’s good to see things starting to get back on track again with rebuilding, the playground’s a big help for the people here. The people still living in town, they need some of this,” said Barone.