Pilger, NE woman gets new town's first new home after her dedication to disaster relief
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
"Everything has been so overwhelming. I'm just so glad that even a town like us, you know, we're 352 people. Who would think that anybody would pay attention to us?" Kim Neiman, Pilger City Clerk asked.
The folks in Pilger, Nebraska have reached a major milestone in rebuilding the town after it took a direct hit from an EF-4 tornado on June 16, 2014.
Twin tornadoes destroyed three-quarters of the town of Pilger, Nebraska.
Left behind? Damage, both physical and emotional.
"We saw it hit Pilger. We came back in, and the first view we had was this," Neiman said.
Now, a month and a half later, the town is working diligently to rebuild the place they call home.
"From the first minute I saw the tornado, and when we came back in and saw what it had done to the town, it was never in my mind to leave Pilger," Neiman said.
Kim Neiman, the Pilger City Clerk, has the first home being rebuilt in town. Several others have already been approved to rebuild.
Folks from the surrounding area have been in constant communication, mostly with Kim, to assist in the efforts.
"I busted my tail to be the first one here. I really did. I called in a lot of favors," Stahla said.
Ray Stahla, who brought in Kim's home just twelve days after she and her husband bought it, says he feels it's only right that Kim's home be the first to be replaced after all she's done to help Pilger heal.
"She's pretty much the lifeline for Pilger at this point in time, so for us to get her back into town and help the rebuilding process, to me, is a real high priority," Stahla said.
Kim says even just the simple fact that hers is one of many homes being rebuilt in Pilger is a sign that the community was too strong to die.
"I love this town. I love the people. I love the outpouring that everybody has given to us," Neiman said.
As Kim, and her husband, plan to move in about a week and a half, she's hopeful that others will follow.
Stahla says he's willing to do whatever he can to help in that process.
"There's a lot of people that are just still in the process of soaking in what happened, where they're at, and how they move forward," Stahla said.
Kim is confident that the will to rebuild lies within all those who once called Pilger home.
"We'll be bigger and better. We're too tough to die. We're not going to die, we're going to keep going. There's going to be more houses," Neiman said.
Starting with the three bedroom home, newly built for Kim and Ted.