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Five Years Later: Runner's Remember Parkersburg Devastation
PARKERSBURG (CBS 2/ FOX 28)-- Even in the pouring rain, the people of Parkersburg press on.
It's something they're used to --moving forward through a storm.
"Adverse weather is nothing compared to what these other people have had to go through in their lives," said runner Ken Reimer.
On Saturday, dozens of runners participated in this year’s 5k Race of Remembrance.
It was exactly five years ago that an EF-5 tornado ripped through their small city, killing eight people and destroying more than 200 homes.
With each step, they remember the pain and also the progress that the town-- now back on it's feet-- has made.
"Now you run around and you see all the new development, you can see where it was rebuilt compared to where it had been," said runner Sara Fort.
Businesses along Highway 57 that were once reduced to rubble now sit brand new.
Even the Aplington Parkersburg high school football field which hosted the annual race has been rebuilt-- thanks to former coach and hero Ed Thomas who is also being remembered.
"He was a great, great man,” said resident Keith Coateas. “We went to church with him, and he was active in the community. It's a remembrance of him as well."
Runners say remembering his spirit and the town's ability to bounce back is the biggest victory of all.
"We've been through a lot, but we can still stick together,” said runner Hannah Coateas. “We still can achieve anything."
The money raised from this year's race will go towards the Ed Thomas Foundation and getting a new fire truck for the city fire department. On average, the annual race raises about $7,000.