Taopi residents reflect on tornado anniversary

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(ABC 6 News) – One year ago, a tornado ripped through the small town of Taopi. On Wednesday, the community reflected on the past year and sharing how far they’ve come.

Since a tornado swept through Taopi and destroyed the homes in the town, the community has endured a long rebuilding process this past year and still remain ‘Taopi strong’.

“I was laying in bed a when I heard what sounded like a freight train and knew that this wasn’t just a thunderstorm,” said Brady Voigt.

A night that most residents will never forget.

“Every window in the south side of the house blew out at the same time, just blew and we got scared then we ran into my bedroom, laid on the floor and rode it out,” explained Terry Voigt.

The town of Taopi became the hotspot for a tornado that ripped its way through a year ago.

Now, the community is reflecting on that day.

“There was water running out of light fixtures in the ceilings, it was a mess, part of our roof was gone,” Alice Kiefer described.

“Tear down the house and then just start fresh with everything, I’ve never built a house before by myself,” said Angela Schmitz.

While the tornado left many of the houses destroyed, it was the support of the community that got them through the tragedy.

“The devastation was overwhelming, but the outpouring of generosity was also overwhelming. The governor comes down, puts a spotlight on a small town, you know all of that helped us to feel like we mattered, tiny little towns matter,” explained Taopi Mayor Mary Huntley.

Wednesday, residents of Taopi gathered at Adams American Legion to commemorate the one year anniversary.

People were able to look at a slide show that showed photos from that day.

A lot of progress has been made since last year, but there is still work that needs to get done.

For the residents that experienced this, they are grateful and continue to stand tall and move forward.

“No deaths, I mean God was with us,” Kiefer said.