Union

Dvonne Hansen

Monday morning — it’s a cloudy, windy May morning with a temperature of about 55º expected for a high. Monday night we have frost and freeze warnings forecast. How about that for beautiful May weather? But the rains have really improved growing conditions and some of the corn is already out of the ground. Let’s hope it comes through the cold temps.
Barbara Campbell returned home from Minnesota on Monday after spending time with her family and getting acquainted with her new great-grandson.
We had a practice session at Letcher Community Church on Monday and Wednesday evenings in preparation for Guest Day.
Joe Brtna and Rodney Shawd attended the state auction at Ft. Pierre on Wednesday.
Shelly Hoffman and Marilyn Shawd attended the senior award presentation for Mitchell High School Wednesday evening.
Thursday, the Letcher Community Church women put on a program and lunch for their annual Guest Day. The theme of the program was “Pearls and Lace” and how that theme fit in with Bible verses and living a Christian life. It was well attended by members of area churches and others. Everyone joined in singing hymns and the conversation was quite lively during lunchtime.
Rodney Shawd and Garry Swagger attended the Upland Colony eighth grade graduation Thursday afternoon.
Holly Hansen prepared supper for Mike and Leah Murray Thursday evening, but it was put on hold as their dogs were missing. They finally heard them barking down at the river south of their place and found them in the river with a raccoon and steep banks on each side. They were able to rescue them and do in the raccoon.
Saturday morning, Joe Brtna, LeRoy Walters, Denny Baade and his son-in-law, Chris, had coffee at Rodney and Marilyn Shawd’s.
This week was graduation week and Saturday we were busy attending graduation parties. Rachel Bucholz and Madison VanWalleghen graduated from Mitchell High and Shane Nelson graduated from Sanborn Central. They all held receptions Saturday afternoon.
Jeremy and Jessica White, Westen and Aurelia were here for the graduations from Omaha, Neb., and Jeremy’s father, Glen, was admitted to the hospital with a ruptured appendix.
Those who attended graduation services at the Corn Palace for Mitchell High School graduates Sunday afternoon were Tyler and Shelly Hoffman and Malorie, Karen Hoffman, Rodney and Marilyn Shawd and Joyce Swagger. Rachel Bucholz and Madison VanWalleghen were graduates.
Rodney and Marilyn Shawd went to Kristina Luczek’s graduation reception Sunday afternoon. She is the daughter of Frank and Angie Luczek.
1978 Tornado
With the devastation of the Delmont tornado comes memories of other deadly tornadoes that occurred in the area. Of course, last year Wessington Springs got hit badly. The town of Spencer was hit by a tornado a few years back and the little town of Manchester was wiped off the map a few years before that. I remember one that hit the Ruml farm east of Letcher and then went on toward Mitchell and hit the west end of town.
On June 27, 1978, Letcher was celebrating Freedom Day and a lot of people were in town. The warning was given of a tornado and to take cover.
The Erby VanLaecken family didn’t have a basement and decided to go to the family farm south of Letcher to take shelter in the basement there. There was Erby, Nadine, Marla, Holly, Ardis and Lisa McCormick. They all got in the cab of their pickup and it wasn’t an extra cab pickup. They pulled onto the highway and headed west. It was very windy and the wind grabbed the pickup, threw it into the ditch and rolled it.
After a lull in the wind, they were on the move again. Erby gave the pickup gas and turned the steering wheel, but it did not respond. They realized they were airborne. The pickup was picked up and pulled over a row of trees and then set down on the ground. All four tires were flat but other than some cuts from broken glass and a few bruises, everyone was okay. Being packed in the cab of the pickup probably kept them from being thrown around.
Their son, Murray, came back from doing chores on the farm and wondered why the pickup was sitting there. When they went back to the house, it had hardly any damage and they would have been fine if they had stayed there, but neighboring homes were hit hard.
The Stanley Fouberg home was destroyed, Harvey Jochims’ home was damaged and for whatever reason, Bernice Jochims took shelter in the ditch. The Ettswold home also suffered damage as well as the Letcher ballpark. Since the tornado hit the southwest part of Letcher, downtown was spared. Also, the Clarence Olson home had damage.
I was only able to find a small newspaper story on the tornado and it showed the home of Stanley Fouberg, as well as the farm of Jim Ewing east on the Plano road, which suffered extensive damage. On the back of the newspaper clipping, it said Senator McGovern and Daschle made an emergency landing in Mitchell because of threatening weather.
So be careful and heed the warnings given on the radio and television, as these whirlwinds of mother nature can be very powerful.

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