Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback visited the tornado stricken town of Harveyville, inspecting the damage and talking with the residents about the storm, expressing his sorrow for their losses and offering words of encouragement. He also had high praise for the large number of volunteers that rushed to the town's aid.
"I've been around public life for a while," said Brownback, "and I've been in a number of these storms and it just never fails that people come together and help out. They show up immediately and they don't want any recognition for it. "I'm just here to help' and that's what they do."
"We're less than 36 hours off of this incident and roofs are being rebuilt," said Brownback. "The place is getting cleaned up. They have more volunteers here than they probably can use in some cases, although I urge people to volunteer and urge them to send funds."
Brownback was accompanied by Maj. Gen. (KS) Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general and director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management; Harveyville Mayor Dustin Kuntz; Doug Howser, Wabaunsee County sheriff; Amy Terrapin, Wabaunsee County emergency coordinator and other local officials.
Brownback spoke with several residents during his hour-long visit, including the family of Richard D. Slade, the Harveyville man who died of injuries received when the tornado blew his house off its foundation.
"I know they (Brownback and Tafanelli) can't wave a magic wand and make it go away," said Kuntz, "but taking time out of their schedule to come here is really appreciated."
During the governor's visit, Brownback received a call from President Barack Obama, who took a few moments to speak with Kuntz, as well.
"I really hadn't anticipated that," said Kuntz.
Debris clean-up is underway. Volunteers arrived on site today and state and county officials continue to assess damages.