Our Opinion: Resilient Taopi

Published 6:24 pm Tuesday, April 11, 2023

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On Wednesday, when this edition comes out, it will mark the one year anniversary of the tornado that struck Taopi last year.

It was one of nine tornadoes that lashed out from a freakish and fast-moving system that night and did the most damage, taking nearly half the town in the eight minutes it was on the ground.

Few, if any of us, know how we would handle that moment until we are right and truly in it. Tornadoes, by their very nature, are often life-altering, turning a life for families into a chaotic day after where those same families must now pick up their lives like so many matchsticks.

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However, in its aftermath, Taopi demonstrated the strength so many small communities show in times like these.

It’s often said, almost as cliche, that everybody knows each other in small communities and the truth is, they absolutely do. That’s what gives Taopi its advantage. These are neighbors, families and friends and its that bond that makes Taopi and other small communities who go through these kinds of events so strong in the face of such adversity.

Hours after the storm raged through Taopi, the sounds of chainsaws echoed and heavy machinery was already moving into the area.

Rather than simply walking about, people were asking, “how can I help?”

If you’re not familiar with the community, it’s hard to tell what happened last year at this time. But even if you are, then it’s easy to admit how admirable the turnaround has been. 

There are indicators still if you know where to look. Oddly spaced houses surrounding plots of land where homes should be, echoes of the homes that once stood on that ground. But what stands out is how quickly the homes that were rebuilt went up.

In some cases, people were in their homes before the turn to the new year, with others moving back in not long after.

Taopi is more than a story of what was. They are a story of what can be and what will be. There are plenty of stories through time where communities were erased from where they stood, never to come back.

Taopi is not that community. Determined from the beginning to build back, Taopi is a story of resilience and perseverance.

Storms come and go. Communities are forever.