April 26, 1991, started out as any normal spring day, with the exception that the National Weather Service had issued a warning that very strong storms could appear by evening. We didn’t know how true that prediction would be; by 7 pm, thirteen people in our town had died and 350 homes were destroyed, as a tornado, with an intensity of F5 (the highest rating), hit Andover, Kansas. . When the tornado hit our home, we had 12 people (friends, family, and neighbors) taking shelter in our basement. Having grown up in Kansas (appropriately nicknamed, Tornado Alley), we were always aware of the damage tornados could do, but never thought for a moment we would ever be in one. We were among the lucky ones; we escaped with only minor injuries, while only two blocks from us,13 people died. We lost our home, my mother’s home, everything we owned (except what we could dig out of the rubble), and our vehicles, but through it all, we learned what to value in life; our material items were quickly replaced, but human lives are irreplaceable. With the help of friends, family, and complete strangers we rebuilt our home. Much was learned from that fateful day…we will never again value material things, instead we value life; kindness and compassion need to be passed on to those in need. We learned to view each day as a gift..to treasure it and be thankful for what we did have. We don’t look back to what we lost, but looked at what we gained…the tornado brought out the best in people..the kindness of others got us through a difficult time…we strive to pass ths kindness on to others.. Andover Tornado [youtube.com]This video of the tornado is amazing. The video was shot approximately 1.5 miles from our home. At 4.28 minutes into the video, you can see when it hit our neighborhood. At approx. 4.57 minutes into the video, if you look to the left of the shot, you will see a car in midair. The tornado was on the ground for an astounding 48 miles. It is truly an amazing video, but somewhat hard to watch, even after 18 yearsWe are thankful to our friends who took these photos. Shot at my mother's home, looking next door to our home. Our home..my husband is standing in our driveway. .The house standing across the street was just a shell, the back half of the home was completely destroyed. My younger son, who was 8 at the time. Our van and my husband's truck..Friends came following the tornado and put the tarp over the van in the hopes that we could salvage some items before the rains destroyed them..