GREENSBURG — Looking over the shambles that is now Greensburg, Mayor Lonnie McCollum envisions an educational center with a small Imax theater built at the site of this town's claim to fame, the world's largest hand-dug well.
School Superintendent Darin Headrick hopes for modern school facilities rising from the ruins of aging school buildings that badly needed renovation even before a tornado destroyed more than 90 percent of the town, killing 10 people and injuring scores of others.
Community leaders are striving to instill hope in a grieving population, as residents bury their dead and sift through the remains of their homes.
Work stopped briefly Thursday as the first funeral procession for one of the nine residents killed here made its way to the local cemetery.
National Guard members took off their hard hats and waited until the cars passed before resuming work.
With all the churches in town destroyed, the funeral for Beverly Lynn Volz was held at United Methodist Church in neighboring Mullinville. More than 100 people attended.
Volz, 52, was remembered as a "wonderful lady" known for her love of cats. "What a symbol of a person who cares and reaches out to the least of our creatures and provides a home," the Rev. Larry Bassett said during the service.
Bassett told mourners that it is a time of stress for everyone.
"I've seen friends and neighbors and people who didn't know each other wrap their arms around each other. Isn't that what a community is all about?" he said. "It is not about buildings. It is not about businesses. It is not about streets or the one traffic light in Kiowa County.... Those are all artificial sorts of things. We are the community."