One year later - people in St. Mary remember the day a tornado changed everything - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

St. Mary, MO

One year later - people in St. Mary remember the day a tornado changed everything

One year later - people in St. Mary remember the day a tornado changed everything
By: CJ Cassidy

ST. MARY, Mo. - This weekend brought back painful memories for some people near St. Mary. One year ago, an F3 tornado wreaked havoc on the area - destroying homes, and claiming the lives of a Perry County couple.

"I just decided to come back here one year later and see how far I had come since," Rick Boland says. He knows exactly how far the tornado tossed him when it destroyed his home. "It was about 100 feet or so. It happened so fast I didn't have time to react or nothing - mainly I was looking for everybody that was with me," he says.

Boland's son and two others inside the home also survived the twister's wrath, but his neighbors across the field weren't so lucky.

Michael and Barbara Schaefer were driving away from their home when the storms blew their pick-up truck into a propane tank. The Schaefers died instantly, but friends say their memory will live on forever.

Sunday, close friends brought their children by the place the couple's home once stood - to tidy up the yard, and plant flowers in their honor. "We're planting orange and pink flowers, 'cos it helps remind us that they died. It makes us really sad," 7-year-old Sydney Cain explained.

Rick Boland too, struggles with his emotions, as he looks over his property. "It was real dark, and then quiet, and then I ended up out in the field," he recalls.

The tornado not only destroyed his home, but also his tree trimming business, and Boland isn't sure if he and his family can ever re-build here again, like some of his neighbors have.

Still, he says the twister taught him a lesson he'll never forget. "Don't take things for granted - live everyday like it's your last - you just never know," he says.

Some folks in the area that rebuilt homes made sure to add in basements, and others say they take tornado warnings very seriously.

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