SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — March 30 marks the one-year anniversary of the tornado that swept through Springdale.
Last year, Melissa Lipsmeyer and her husband were woken up to loud noises, the shaking of their house, and a missing roof.
“All of the windows are in place except for the main window, and it came out in one piece and landed on these bushes. On the other side is the master bedroom, and that is where the roof was gone,” Lipsmeyer said.
Lipsmeyer says her body was soaked in water and covered in blood from all of the things swirling around in their home.
“It was just within seconds that we realized that the windows were coming in. It was very loud. We were feeling things hitting us,” Lipsmeyer said.
Although this happened one year ago, Lipsmeyer says she’s been experiencing jarring memories leading up to this week.
“I had a difficult time going to sleep last night. But I woke up and, you know, everything’s fine. So it’s crazy that it’s been a year. Our house is still not put together,” Lipsmeyer said.
According to Captain Justin Pinkley of the Springdale Fire Department, on March 30, 2022, there were no deaths reported from the tornado, but a lot of extensive damage was done.
“Our crews responded, and they did their job. And, they had multiple things going on at once, but they handled it really well. That’s what we do when we have this big mess, and we have to figure out how to fix the problem.”
Pinkley says although a lot of materialistic things were gone, through it all, people within the Springdale community gained a second family.
“You saw the community come together as a whole. And I’m very proud to be a part of this community,” Pinkley said.
Lipsmeyer says it is one year later, and she’s still standing. And, she couldn’t be more thankful.
“I’m just thankful that my husband and I are alive we absolutely cheated death that morning a year ago but I don’t think God was ready for the Lipsmeyer yet,” Lipsmeyer said.
George Elementary School saw significant damage from the tornado.
The storm destroyed the school’s gym and caused damage to the cafeteria, kitchen and other parts around the exterior.
Since then, the kids have done gym class outside on the concrete slab where the gym once stood.
Trent Jones with Springdale Schools says the biggest blessing is that the tornado struck while the school was empty. Another blessing was seeing how the community rallied together to help the school district and each other.
“A lot of people’s lives change that day forever,” Jones said. “And what you saw was everybody pulled in. They committed to each other. There was humility. There was kindness, and it was really just awesome seeing the variety of skill sets dedicated to serving each other.”
However, the school is taking lemons and turning them into lots of lemonade. Not only will the school be building a new gym, but it will also be revamping the school’s cafeteria, library, music room, and administrative offices and building a new entry facade. Jones says it will be state-of-the-art once it’s all finished.
Construction will begin shortly after the last day of school.