On Sunday night, an EF-5 tornado ripped through the Eastern Iowa towns of Parkersburg, New Hartford and Dunkerton. The twister, at times more than a mile wide, packed winds of 205 miles per hour and stayed on the ground for 43 miles. Seven people lost their lives.
Half of the town of Parkersburg (population 2,000) is gone and the high school was destroyed. Parkersburg is a football town, a small-town dynasty. Coach Ed Thomas' teams have produced four current NFL players — centers Casey Wiegmann of the Denver Broncos, Brad Meester of Jacksonville Jaguars and defensive ends Jared DeVries of the Detroit Lions and Aaron Kampman of the Green Bay Packers — a remarkable achievement for the 240-student school. The field, named after Thomas, is known as the "Sacred Acre."
Friday nights are special in Parkersburg, and towns like it are the backbone of this nation. You can see more photos of the devastation by clicking here, and if you're interested in helping the community in its rebuilding efforts, please click here.