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Making lemonade from lemons

Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013 10:36 a.m. CDT

From Jim Stalker


April 14th of 2012 was just like every other spring day. It was a cloudy day with a hint of storm clouds gathering in the west. The possibility of rain had been forecast but had not yet materialized. It was Saturday evening. ...

It (the tornado) was here so quickly, the sirens had not kicked on. No one had been killed as it strafed the north edge of town. It was surely a miracle that it had not dipped further into town causing massive destruction and death.

With every tragedy, there are stories of hope and faith. One such story, as the tornado dropped down again before leaving Creston, it took half a barn, the top half of an old two-story farmhouse occupied by an elderly couple who had lived there nearly all of their lives, raising a family, and living off the land, through thick and thin. The elderly couple, Don and Betty Pottinger, were not harmed by the twister. Across the street, in the middle of a bean field, two fishermen were alive and sitting in their boat, still fishing.

Cherry Street that provided access to their house and others was totally blocked by downed high voltage lines that led to the power plant approximately three miles to the north. Though it only took a few minutes to destroy everything in its path, Creston was left wounded and for the most part, in the dark. Daylight hit and they were able to get a better picture of what had happened. After the immediate dangers had been alleviated and the people who needed help moved to secure housing. It was time to clear a path. The large pieces were picked up by heavy equipment and pushed out of danger.

For Don and Betty Pottinger, it must have been one of the worst days possible, as they were able to see for the first time, their home and out buildings, some that had been totally destroyed. Don and Betty had made many friends over the past years and someone suggested that they make a one story out of what was left of their two story house. It was the perfect solution! They were getting up in years and climbing the stairs would become difficult at some point. The decision was made and work began almost immediately. From lemons the tornado left, to lemonade with a new house. With the help of friends and neighbors, they had made the most out of a very bad situation.

(This story is true including the boat sitting upright and attached to a boat trailer, but without the fishermen sitting in the boat, still fishing. Apologies to Don and Betty for calling them elderly.)

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