Eudora family still trying to rebuild after last spring’s tornado destroyed century-old farm

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EUDORA, Kan. -- The EF-4 tornado that ripped through Douglas and Leavenworth counties in May still has residents out of place.

"I was in Lawrence at the time, but I heard the tornado was coming," Karen Boyer said. "I called my husband and heard the sirens, but by the time I got close, traffic was blocked by trees. So I got out and ran through the water, which was just below my knees."

Boyer has a home in Eudora with her husband and two horses.

"My horses were in the barn, so when my husband said the barn was hit by the tornado, I just dropped down crying," she explained. "But then we heard them, around the back, they made it."

Boyer's barns are more than 100 years old. Once used for grain, these barns were originally used by some of Eudora's first farmers. The town was an attractive place for farmers in the early 1900's because of the rich soil.

Some of the more popular crops included potatoes, corn, wheat, oats, alfalfa, clover, sweet clover, sorghum and all kinds of fruit.

"I want the barns back for my horses," Boyer said. "It's already getting cold out, and that's where we will keep them warm in the winter. It really is nonstop getting this place back together."

The couple also lost their home. Boyer told FOX4 her husband was able to escape the basement with one of their cats.

"The sounds he heard from the basement was terrifying," she said.

Luckily, no one was hurt, but Boyer said when the news cameras left their town, the real work started.

"We are out here 19 hours a day, every day, trying to get our lives back to normal," she explained.

Boyer told FOX4 that she had help along the way.

"Elite Construction in Olathe went over and beyond, and Lawrence Board of Realtors gave $50,000 to some of the homeowners who lost it all," she said.

FOX4 rode through the counties hit by the tornado; we saw a number of homes that were still piled into yards. However, the town's residents said they're determined to build back what the severe weather took.

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