PILGER, Neb. – Soon the roughly 350 residents of this farming town in northeastern Nebraska will face a momentous decision that people in other U.S. towns devastated by tornadoes have agonized over: stay and rebuild, or leave.
Pilger's slogan — "The little town too tough to die" — has never faced this direct a threat. Roughly three quarters of Pilger was badly damaged Monday by tornadoes that also killed two people and injured at least 19. The storm damaged Pilger's downtown, middle school and its biggest employer: the Pilger Co-op.
The post-storm recovery struggles faced by places such as Greensburg, Kansas; Spencer, South Dakota; Hallam, Nebraska; and Thurman, Iowa; show it won't be easy.
Pilger Board Chairman Jim Duncan says the town will just have to pick up the pieces and move forward.