Chapman city attorney thanks public

To the Editor:

As you know at 22 minutes and 24 seconds after 10 p.m. on June 11, the City of Chapman was devastated by a high level F3 tornado with winds in excess of 150 miles per hour.

The tornado entered our town at the southwest corner near Chapman High School and continued through the town from the southwest to the northeast exiting over the Chapman School District gymnasium.

Chapman is a beautiful community with many old, large oak and cottonwood trees located throughout the town. Many of the trees were unable to survive the tornado and were uprooted. Homes were destroyed and lives changed forever.

By now you have seen the photographs of the tremendous damage or perhaps talked to others who have been to the tornado scene. The property damage is devastating.

One young woman lost her life while others were injured. Many citizens suffered cuts, bruises and an assortment of injuries, which did not require hospitalization.

The citizens of Chapman are extremely loyal to the community. They will rebuild and the community will be stronger by reason of the experience.

Although the churches were damaged, services continued at different locations with attendance as great or greater than prior to the tornado.

The citizens of Chapman did an excellent job in taking shelter from the tornado. The police chief sounded the sirens until they were destroyed. The police department drove through the town using their in-car public announcement system to get word to the people. Otherwise the loss of life would most certainly have been greater than it was.

Immediately after the devastating tornado the disaster team was on the scene. The disaster relief team has done an excellent job at all stages.

While no community wants to have a disaster of this magnitude you can rest assured the Dickinson County team is well coordinated, well prepared, and take their duties very seriously.

Within hours following the notification of the tornado damage to Chapman, communities sent ambulances to help with the injured victims, recovery teams, fire departments, utility repair teams, and others arrived very quickly to provide assistance.

As soon as we were able to clear the main streets of trees a parade of more than 20 ambulances entered the town to provide assistance. Ambulances from Concordia, Newton, Harvey County and, of course, communities closer to Chapman.

As soon as the command center could be set up at the parking lot of the school district gymnasium, the coordinated relief effort began.

Once the citizens were accounted for, wounded cared for, and utilities shut off, the team moved forward with meeting the needs of citizens.

Although the mayor and most of the city council lost their homes we were able to meet as a council to begin the process of organizing the various agencies together as one unified team for the benefits of the community.

It will take Chapman a long time to recover from the devastating tornado. The tornado happened on Wednesday night. On Saturday we had more than 1,000 volunteers followed by 440 volunteers on Father's Day and another 140 volunteers on Monday.

Chapman is a good community with a lot of good, hardworking people living within its borders. It will rebuild but those involved in the tornado will remember the night of June 11 for the balance of their days.

On behalf of the good citizens of the City of Chapman, the City Council, Mayor Gaetz, the school district, graduates of Chapman High School, and the many friends of Chapman we all wish to thank you for your tremendous support to Chapman in its hour of need.

We thank the disaster relief team for its tremendous dedication to our community, which goes far and beyond the duties assigned to each and every one of you. Without our timely assistance, expertise, and patience we would not be nearly as far along in our recovery efforts as we are now.

We thank God for providing for our community in this hour of need. He is the same God when the sun is shining or when the clouds are building. He never leaves you.

In the past, Chapman has been a generous community to help other communities in their hour of need. A little over 13 months ago, Chapman participated in the Greensburg benefit fund-raiser at Emmanuel Church in Abilene. The benefit raised more than $6,500 for Greensburg. Our slogan at the time was, "It is you today, but tomorrow it may be us." Our slogan has now changed because of the tornado to Chapman. It is soon, "It is us today, it may be you tomorrow."

The City of Chapman has started a Chapman Disaster Relief Fund at the Astra Bank in Chapman. Funds may be mailed to the City of Chapman Disaster Relief Fund, P.O. Box 321, Chapman, KS 67431.

There will be organized work groups coordinated through several churches in the area. Please watch for further information on how you can be involved in the recovery efforts.

We thank you for your tremendous donations of items, which have greatly helped our community at a time when we had no services for the citizens.

Once again, on behalf of all involved with the City of Chapman and its recovery efforts, we thank you for your generous support and hope you will remember us in your prayers.

Doug Thompson

City attorney