Potluck dinner keeps memory of Manchester alive, 10 years later - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Potluck dinner keeps memory of Manchester alive, 10 years later

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Monday marked the ten year anniversary of 'Tornado Tuesday'. On this day in 2003, 67 tornadoes were documented in eastern South Dakota. Nobody was killed during the day of twisters, but many communities were badly damaged including the tiny town of Manchester.

Not much is left of the unincorporated farming community, but Monday evening, folks returned to remember the day that has stuck with them ever since.

Ten years later and a much different scene in Manchester where a tall sign into the town is one of the few things standing. Even though an entire town was lost, ten years ago, people who were celebrating say there was so much more gained.

"It really means a lot to me. It is neat to see how strong a community we do have here," former nearby resident Kevin Muilenburg said.

For the very few who lived here, and those still living nearby, this potluck Monday night, was more than just a dinner but a chance to reflect on what feels like yesterday.

"I was in Kuwait the night the tornado hit here," Muilenburg said. "We heard about it the next morning on Armed Forces radio. I didn't know what to think because I didn't have any way of getting ahold of my family to find out if they were OK or not."

"Stood there in awe watching it chew up our town, that's hard to do," former resident Mark Strickler said. "It was total devastation, it looked like the moon."

What's left now: a memorial, new community and a whole lot of memories.

"It took our town but the community is still strong. When we see everyone, we always say 'hi' regardless of where we're at. The community is still here, it was tough on us, but we made it through," Strickler said.

Though the 6 former residents have picked up and moved on since the tornado hit, what matters most now, today and tomorrow, is coming back to keep the memories of Manchester alive.

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