BOWIE (KFDX/KJTL) — Nearly one year after an EF-1 tornado tore through parts of Bowie, city officials are inviting the community out to a street festival Saturday, May 22, 2021, to celebrate the recovery that’s been made.
Recalling the night of the tornado, May 22, 2020, Dillon Steen knew that this could have been the big one.
“I was at my house and I was communicating with one of my team members and I was saying just wind and rain. But I was looking out my front bay and all I could see if my front neighbor’s tree swinging back and forth,” Steen said.
A tornado that damaged more than 600 buildings, including 102 businesses, was no match for a community that cares for each other’s neighbors.
“We came back stronger and bigger and better than ever. I live on the south side of town where the mayor was telling you where it was hit the hardest. And I had people showing up in the yard. I had no idea who they were, just to lend a helping hand,” steen said.
One of the many reasons why Bowie Mayor Gaylynn Burris said on the one-year anniversary, it’s time to celebrate.
“Our first little slogan was ‘Bowie Strong’ right after the tornado and that was a part of bringing everyone together. And so, when we were working on the event this year, of course, no one wants to call it a tornado reunion. That’s when we came up with the slogan ‘Bowie Stronger.’ Because I think the city is stronger. Because in our year of recovery, there has been so much more than recovering from a tornado,” Burris said.
From growing businesses in the face of COVID-19 or coming together to rebuild neighborhoods, Mayor Burris said the results speak for themselves.
“We did a great job at recovery especially for our businesses the homeowners that were hit hardest were on the south side of town because the tornado was about 400 miles wide and about half a mile long, but even that town is coming back more beautiful than ever,” Burris said.
Proof that Bowie can handle anything mother nature throws at it