STRATFORD, Iowa -- "It looked like a war zone, disaster area," said Stratford Lions Club President Doug Anderson. "Many of the other homes had roof damage, and siding damage, and of course trees and limbs were strewn all over," said Anderson. 10 years to the day the tornado wreaked havoc on Straftord, Anderson vividly remembers the damage the twister caused.
The tornado destroyed nearly two dozen homes and damaged another 30-40 homes. Tonight, at the school cafeteria, folks looked at images that captured just how devastating the tornado was. The tornado caused multiple injuries and claimed one life. The then 84 year-old Lucille Runyan had gotten to what she thought was a safe place, but that wasn't enough on that fateful day, as her son explained. "“I had a brother and a sister that happened to be there that day too, so she had been out shopping, come home and beat the storm and everything and they were going to the basement and it had full basement. They were in the southwest corner of the basement, but the force took the top level and then just the suction in that, just like my brother and sister said, just you know sucked her away, and then the floor come down on top her," said Larry Runyan, a son of the late Lucille.
Thanks to the help that poured in from around the state, the community has largely recovered and rebuilt since the destruction. New homes have gone up and new families have moved to town. Folks in Stratford say one silver lining is that the tornado and the destruction and tragedy it caused brought people together. "We had schools, neighboring schools, our community schools, the elementary here, they all came and helped pick up out in the fields and stuff and we had volunteers from all over the state," said Stratford Fire & Rescue Assistant Chief Gary Johnson.