Kansas Farm Hit by Tornado Receives Help from Students

July 25, 2015 12:00 PM
Kansas Farm Hit by Tornado Receives Help from Students

By Adam Stewart, The Hutchinson News

The Nickerson High School volleyball team gathered outside of town on a recent Saturday morning to pick up debris from tornado this month from a farmer's field.

Farmer Pat Henke said that should allow him to replant soybeans, which were scoured from the field by 165 mph winds in the EF3 tornado, The Hutchinson News reported.

"If we have good luck cleaning this up, we'll try to replant tomorrow," Henke said.

Because the soybeans were double-cropped after wheat, they weren't covered by crop insurance, Henke said. He planted them July 2. He said now may be a bit late to replant, but it should be better than leaving the field bare.

The debris was from the house of Brad and Janis Berridge, just north of the field, which was destroyed by the tornado. The Berridges weren't at the house at the time of the tornado, and their animals survived.

Volleyball coach Deedra Woodbury said that after the tornado, she wanted to find a way to help people affected by it. A parent of a team member told her about Henke's field, and organizing the cleanup was pretty simple after that, she said.

"I think everyone in the town wanted to give back" to people affected by the tornado, sophomore Sophie Mader said.

She said the Berridges are always involved in the community. And Pat Henke's wife, Judy, is a family and consumer sciences teacher at the school.

Pat Henke said that in a first walk through of the field on his own, he saw lots of pieces of siding, shingles and 2-by-4s.

"There's nothing big," he said.

Other things players found included a knife and part of a mattress.

The tornado was about 350 yards wide and took a path 5.3 miles long before it abated.

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