On July 27, a severe thunderstorm plowed through Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, a rural farming community 40 miles east of Cheyenne. Wind and hail damaged around 500 homes and affected all the structures of the town, which has a population of about 1,200 people.
The Reverend Lesley Matschke, of Pine Bluffs United Methodist Church, said, "Our damage here at the church is typical of what the whole town has experienced: roofs totaled, multiple windows blown out with plywood over them now, cars totaled, trees bare with pine needles and leaves blown off, large trees pulled out of the ground by the roots from the wind, yards were covered with debris several inches thick, flowers and gardens flattened.
"The community has pulled together in amazing ways and we have been so thankful for all the help from outside the community as well – Red Cross, Salvation Army, National Guard, youth and sponsors from FFA (Future Farmers of America) and FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) chapters in the middle school and high school. It was overwhelming at first, but the spirit of cooperation and caring has been pulling us through this disaster! We are counting our blessings with no loss of life or major injuries and God's presence through it all, giving us strength and hope!"
Most of the damage the church sustained will be covered by insurance. However, there will be outstanding costs related to the storm's after-effects that will not be covered. If you would like to support Pine Bluffs UMC with a financial gift, please contact Rev. Lesley Matschke at 303-548-4062.
Read more about the storm on WyomingNews.com
Wyoming governor activates National Guard following hail storm (7News)
Reporter reflects on storm (Pine Bluffs Post) | Hailstorm wreaks havoc in Pine Bluffs (Pine Bluffs Post)