Wessington Springs, SD
While Wessington Springs still has a long way to recover, the homeowners are using the holiday weekend to feel normal, if only for a short time.
The last two weeks have been a nightmare for Craig Heumiller and his young family. And this weekend, they're taking full advantage of the holiday.
"It's going to be nice just to hang out, I guess. Not worry about stuff and not work on anything and just kind of have some fun with the kids," Heumiller said.
They'd moved into their home just six weeks before the tornado hit. Now they are living in a trailer while they wait to decide if the home should be demolished or rebuilt. It's been a major transition for his two-year-old.
"She knows something is going on. She knows things aren't normal. She's been handling it well. She mentions stuff about the dirty house. She wants a new house," Heumiller. said.
Today those thoughts are in the back of their mind as the family enjoys a typical 4th of July celebration, including a parade this afternoon. It's a tradition that's helping this tight-knit community feel whole again after an EF-2 tornado ripped through town.
"We are glad everything is going as planned, that we've had planned for eight months. Everybody can have a break and relax and enjoy the 4th without thinking about what has happened in the past couple weeks," Jane Barber said.
Jane Barber is announcing the 4-H rodeo today. While the damage is extensive, she knows the town has a lot to celebrate this Independence Day.
"We are so thankful that no lives were lost. Nobody even had a broken arm or nothing so we are very, very thankful," Barber said.
And for the Heumillers, they're trying to bouncing back from a disaster while taking time to enjoy our nation's birthday.