Tornado Can't Keep the Falcons Down

By Claire Kellett, Anchor/Reporter

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By Becky Ogann

PARKERSBURG - The Aplington-Parkersburg high school was destroyed in Sunday's EF-5 tornado and it will take months to rebuild.

But people in Parkersburg are not letting a tornado take away their town spirit. Families are making plans to rebuild homes and students are continuing school activities.

Despite this mess and not having all of the equipment and uniforms, the softball team just learned it will finish its season.

Metal siding sit at shortstop. Yellow tape marks off the area where a backstop once stood. The Aplington Parkersburg High School Softball field is in shambles. But the home team is stronger than ever.

Coach Paula Buchholz calls it Falcon Strong. But school pride brought her to tears on Thursday as her team talked about the rest of the season inside the elementary school library.

"It was hard to think I might never play softball again. That we might not finish my senior year," said Molly Stock, softball player.

But softball will serve as an uplifting escape from the devastation consuming Parkersburg for both the players and coach Buchholz. The tornado leveled her family's house.

"I've taken care of my family, now it's time for me to take care of my extended family," said Paula Buchholz, softball coach.

Her extended family is finding strength in one another, and gathering the equipment to be a softball team again.

"Just being out there playing with each other, we're so tight. We wanted to finish this season because it was supposed to be a good season," said Meghan Flanigan, softball player.

Now it's not about winning or losing, the shortened season will be about building lifelong friendship.

The players say that's okay, because once a Falcon always a Falcon. And the A-P softball team will take the field again no matter how long it takes.

The varsity softball team has its first away game since the tornado on Monday. It will be playing all of its home games at the baseball field at the Aplington middle school.

You can donate money directly to the Aplington-Parkersburg School Tornado Fund. The money goes to support students, teacher, and staff. Just send a check to:
Aplington-Parkersburg School Tornado Fund
P.O. Box 607 Aplington, IA 50604

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