Marking the fifth anniversary of the EF5 tornado in Parkersburg - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Marking the 5th anniversary of the EF5 tornado in Parkersburg and New Hartford

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Saturday marks five years since the EF5 tornado ripped through Parkersburg, New Hartford and Dunkerton, killing two people in New Hartford and 7 people in Parkersburg.

On Saturday, Parkersburg commemorated the tornado with the Race of Remembrance 5K.

A 10K was also held in memory of the late Ed Thomas, an Aplington-Parkersburg teacher and coach murdered in 2009. Funds from the 10K go to the Ed Thomas Foundation.

Proceeds from this year's 5K go to the Parkersburg Fire Department to purchase a new fire truck.

On Friday, city officials showed representatives from Washington, D.C. the city's progress since 2008.

According to the city, 288 homes in Parkersburg were destroyed by the tornado; 230 of those homes were rebuilt. That was about 45 percent of the homes in Parkersburg at the time. Another hundred or so needed repairs.

Twenty businesses were also destroyed.

"When it comes to commercial spaces, we have either rebuilt or replaced all of the businesses that were destroyed except the Pizza Ranch, I believe," Chris Luhring said via e-mail to KWWL in April. "We have had approximately 20 new businesses come to Parkersburg or start since the tornado."

Representative Bruce Braley presented Mayor Perry Bernard with a copy of remarks in the congressional record honoring the city for its work.

Bernard says a lot of progress has been made in five years, but doesn't seem like it's been five years since the tornado hit.

"Doesn't seem like it. Sometimes we want to forget it, but it's one of those things you just never forget. It's always engraved in our minds," Bernard said.

Bernard hopes Parkersburg can be a model for other communities destroyed by a natural disaster.

Neighboring town New Hartford suffered damage on the city's north side in the Deer Ridge area.

Homes, trees and the cemetery were ripped apart.

The Oak Hill Cemetery Foundation was formed to repair the cemetery, which was rededicated in 2011.

The Butler County Emergency Management reports 240 homes and businesses were impacted by either the tornado or flooding that happened two weeks later in New Hartford. 16 of those homes were bought out and turned into green space.

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