GREENSBURG — When most of this town was destroyed by a tornado, the quality of life vanished, too.
Tom Corns, however, sees that trait returning, visible in buildings like the new Scout Cabin, which has replaced the more than 70-year-old structure demolished in the May 4, 2007, storm.
The Scouting program has a long history in the community, evidenced by the fact that it has produced more than 80 Eagle Scouts since the program originated in Greensburg in 1935. That same year, a very rustic cabin was built for meetings of Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and Brownies.
Leveled by the tornado, all that was salvageable was some cooking equipment. Luckily, benefactor Charles Phillips had left the organization a sizable amount of money in the 1970s, said Corns, an Eagle Scout and president of Greensburg State Bank.
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"That money was invested and grew," Corns said, explaining those funds went toward construction of the new cabin. "That's exactly what he would have wanted to spend it on."
The new structure will also serve as a community center, with a meeting room that could seat up to 80 people, a kitchen, office and fireplace.
"It's not luxurious by any means," Corns said. "But it will be good for the Scouting program and a lot better than they had before the tornado."
Like most the new buildings in this community, it will be structurally sound and energy-efficient. While it doesn't have a basement, the bathrooms are tornado-proof and can be used as shelter when necessary.
A native of Greensburg, Corns was active in the Scouting program in the late 1950s and earned his Eagle award in 1959.
"We had a strong program in the 1950s and had a good Scoutmaster, Carl Hayse, from 1940 to 1980," he said.
While not a lot of the original Eagle Scouts still live in Greensburg, he said it was like sowing a seed that spread. Many of those people who went through the program went to other places and have spread those values where they settled, Corns said.
Now he's hopeful, with the new cabin, they can begin to resurrect the program that had been so integral to the community back in the 1950s. He's also hopeful that Girl Scouts and Brownies will become more active.