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Barneveld residents remember deadly tornado 30 years later

Barneveld residents remember deadly tornado 30 years later

It was 30 years ago that a deadly tornado ripped through Barneveld, killing nine and injuring 200. For many, the memories are just as vivid now as they were on June 8, 1984.

Most of the town was sound asleep when it happened.

"The windows started to shake and I knew it was something serious so that was my wake up. I looked at the clock and it said 10 to 1:00 a.m., and the power went off," said Mary Ann Meyers. She lived with her two teenage daughters at the time. When she got out of bed to check on them, their room had blown away.

"It was like I lost my breath. I just remember gasping," Meyers said.

She found the girls in the back yard under debris. They were OK, but the family couldn't call for help, the phone lines were down. They couldn't drive for help, their car was wrapped around a tree.

"And at this point, you still thought, you might be the only one involved," she said. "But it soon became very evident that it was far and wide throughout the village."

The next day Meyers would learn two-thirds of the town had been destroyed. Worse, lives had been lost. Yet amid the tragedy, she remembers not only did the community come together, communities across the state showed their support as well.

"What you think of most is the people that reached out to us and helped in any way possible," Meyers said. "You realize, you can't run away from your troubles. You deal with them the best you can."

That's exactly what Meyers did. She took on the role of village president the following year, leading the rebuilding efforts until 1991. She even rebuilt her own house, and still lives there to this today.

"It'll always be a part of us. It's like a chapter in that book of life that you aren't going to forget ever," Meyers said. "But you can't dwell on it either."

 

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