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By Carmen Ensinger
The sky was ominous looking for most of Monday, but by Monday afternoon, it turned wicked and a funnel cloud dipped out of the sky and ripped through the buildings on the Wright Farm in the tiny community of Wrights turning several buildings into a heap of twisted metal and destroying several pieces of farming equipment in the process
The tornado touched down between 2:30 and 3 p.m., while there were three men at the site, luckily none of them were injured.
Glenna Wright, mother of the owner of the farm, explained what happened.
“My son, Scott, and Mick Pembrook, along with a mechanic from Sievers Equipment were here at the time the tornado hit,” she said. “The mechanic was sitting in his truck north of this building (machine shed) and the other two guys dived into a pick up that was in the other shed that went down and it went over and it was done. Luckily, all three of them are okay.”
Glenna and her husband Andy worked the farm for many, many years before passing it down to their son, Scott. Andy still farms with Scott. The farm has been in the Wright family since Andrew Jackson Wright I founded the town of Wrights in 1872.
Glenna said neither she nor Andy was home at the time.
“I was at the church in Greenfield and Andy was in Carlinville,” she said. “I received a warning on my phone, but it doesn’t tell you where the tornado is. I went to the front door of the church, along with the janitor and we watched it and I said to him, ‘that is the way I’m going and I’m ready to go home.’ Then my husband called and said Scott had called him and said that they had gotten hit and for me to call Ameren and get the gas turned off because gas was spewing everywhere.”
Sadly, the building that was hit hardest was the machine shed – the heart of a big farming operation like the Wright’s. The roof was literally ripped off the building, along with the walls. All that remains is the concrete floor, along with a small back section of the building. All the rest is gone. The heavier pieces of machinery remained. Lighter pieces were no doubt picked up and scattered throughout the farm fields.
“Like every farmer, they have to have a shop to work on their stuff,” Wright said. “This is where they kept all their hand tools, where they mixed all their chemicals, worked on the machinery, did all their oil changes and everything like that.”
Also destroyed was an open front shed, another really big shed which housed their combine, which was also destroyed, two more smaller sheds and several grain bins also sustained damage. Inside the other sheds were augers and other pieces of farm machinery – all destroyed and now hidden under the debris.
But, as with any small community, the moment the danger was over, community members, along with family, flocked to the sight of the carnage to help with the cleanup.
“At first, we were just in awe and just trying to take it all in and then the people started showing up to help us clean it all up,” Wright said. “A lot of people have come and gone and more people just keep coming. It is almost dark and we still have more than a dozen people still here helping us.”
There is never a good time for a tornado, but a tornado in the middle of harvest season is the absolute worst time. Wright said they were only about half-way through the harvest.
“The field over there with all of the garbage in it – that is part of our farm,” Wright said. “The only good thing is that we had two of our tractors out at our house because they had hauled some fertilizer last week so they weren’t here or they would have been destroyed as well.”
But, living in a small community, it is for certain that neighbors will rally around the Wright’s to make sure the crops get taken out for them.