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Eastern Kansas businesses, residents continue to rebuild after 2019 tornado

EF-4 tornado hit near Linwood on May 28, 2019
Hahn Family Home-Linwood.jpg
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Posted at 5:43 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 19:29:18-04

LINWOOD, Kan. — The sound and destruction of a tornado is something the Hahn family in Linwood will never forget. Their house was in the middle of the path of destruction on May 28, 2019 – and completely flattened.

“Probably the most distinctive things I can remember going through my mind is just looking straight up above me praying that the subfloor didn’t peel off that was above us,” Brian Hahn said.

The road to recovery hasn’t been easy for Brian and his wife, Chris, their belongings picked apart by the EF-4 tornado that touched down near Linwood one year ago.

“It’s been very long, it’s been very hard,” Brian said.

A couple days after the house was destroyed, Brian learned he had Stage 4 kidney cancer. He said it has been a “rough go” over the past year, but his employer has been understanding and helpful throughout.

However, Brian isn’t out of the clear just yet. The family is able to move into their newly built house, though COVID-19 prevented a major move in with many people helping out. They moved in themselves.

“We were able to utilize the existing foundation,” Chris said. “So we kind of actually kept it so we were able to change things a bit, but it was going to be pretty much the same square footage.”

Also in the tornado’s path that day was Pendleton’s Kaw Valley Country Market, just east of Lawrence. They lost five of their seven greenhouses.

RELATED: Linwood residents emerge from shelter to find homes destroyed

“It’s just been unsettling as we remember what happened,” Owner Karen Pendleton said. “Unsettling – but at the same time – but honored by all the people who came out and helped.”

Outside of the building, Pendleton displayed a poster showing the devastation. Not only was the business hit, but so was their house, which is still being repaired.

“It was more important for us to get the business side going first because that was our income,” Pendleton said. “Once we were able to get the business side up and going and repaired, then we could start thinking about the house.”