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Tornado

Other small towns that rebuilt after tornadoes show small Nebraska town won't be the same

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    A worker pauses for a break from cleaning up debris in Pilger, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Wednesday was the first day volunteers were allowed into town to help with cleanup following Monday's storm, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The storm spawned at least four tornadoes, and killed two people in the Pilger area. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly, Pool) (The Associated Press)

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    Workers clean up debris in Pilger, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Wednesday was the first day volunteers were allowed into town to help with cleanup following Monday's storm, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The storm spawned at least four tornadoes, and killed two people in the Pilger area. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly, Pool) (The Associated Press)

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    Workers clean up debris from a property in Pilger, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Wednesday was the first day volunteers were allowed into town to help with cleanup following Monday's storm, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The storm spawned at least four tornadoes, and killed two people in the Pilger area. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly, Pool) (The Associated Press)

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    Clayton Petersen, left), Harry Petersen, center, and Jeffery Petersen take a break to eat while helping with the cleanup effort in Pilger, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Wednesday was the first day volunteers were allowed into town to help with cleanup following Monday's storm, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The storm spawned at least four tornadoes, and killed two people in the Pilger area. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly, Pool) (The Associated Press)

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    Workers and a security officer talk with a field of debris behind them in Pilger, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Wednesday was the first day volunteers were allowed into town to help with cleanup following Monday's storm, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The storm spawned at least four tornadoes, and killed two people in the Pilger area. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly, Pool) (The Associated Press)

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.

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