On this day, five years ago, a massive F-3 tornado swept through the heart of Nappanee, Indiana.
Despite causing tens of millions of dollars in damage to buildings across the community, miraculously, no one was killed. Only a handful of people sustained minor injuries as a result of the disaster.
The Nappanee community gathered tonight to mark the five-year anniversary, not to look back on the destruction, but to celebrate the fact that no lives were lost.
Thursday night's service was appropriately called “We All Survived,” a tribute to the fact that the 2007 tornado damaged nearly 250 buildings without a death toll. The event was hosted by New Beginnings Assembly of God, which was destroyed in the tornado. An F-3 tornado has average wind speeds of 136 to 165 miles per hour, explaining the millions of dollars in damage inflicted upon the town afterwards.
Nappanee has been able to rebuild thanks to an outpouring of donations. Residents have seen new homes, barns, businesses, and even trees pop up as part of the rebuilding process.
At Thursday night's celebration, many were calling what happened a “miracle,” either for themselves, their families, or for their town.