Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. toured Reading Monday morning and met with local leaders and residents to learn about their community’s needs as they begin to recover from the destruction left behind by Saturday’s tornado.


Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. toured Reading Monday morning and met with local leaders and residents to learn about their community’s needs as they begin to recover from the destruction left behind by Saturday’s tornado. Representatives from the office of US Senator Pat Roberts, the office of US Senator Jerry Moran, the office of Congressman Tim Huelskamp, the office of Congressman Mike Pompeo, as well as members of the Governor's Cabinet joined them for the tour.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Don Chesmore who was killed when a tornado hit his mobile home Saturday night and with the many Kansans affected by the violent storms this weekend,” Governor Brownback said.  “Lt. Governor Colyer and I want to thank the many emergency responders who left the comfort of their own homes and put their own lives at risk to help other Kansans in need.  They reflect the true spirit of our state.”

The tour began with a briefing of the damage and recovery situation led by Maj. Gen. (KS) Lee Tafanelli, Kansas Adjutant General and Director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management at the Emergency Command Center set up near the Kansas Wildlife and Parks building in Reading.

“The residents of Reading can be rest assured they will get the support they need in this challenging time as they rebuild their community,” Tafanelli said. “The state will continue to provide whatever help we can and the generous residents of Kansas are already helping with donations and a willingness to volunteer,”

The group then took both ground and aerial tours of the town.  The tornado destroyed more than 20 homes and damaged another 200 buildings in the Reading area.

“Clean-up and recovery work is already beginning in Reading and in the other communities where the reported 14 tornados touched down Saturday night.  For some, it will mean rebuilding their homes and businesses.  But Gov. Brownback and I are confident they will rebound from this destruction,” Lt. Gov. Colyer said.

Local leaders who joined the Governor and Lt. Governor on the tour included State Sen. Jeff Longbine, State Rep. Peggy Mast, Lyon County Commissioner Scott Briggs, Lyon County Sheriff Lawrence Wilkerson, Reading Mayor Lonnie Atchison, and Reading Fire Chief Lawrence Wilkerson.

Governor Brownback issued a state disaster declaration after the tornados hit for the following 16 counties: Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Brown, Coffey, Doniphan, Douglas, Franklin, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth, Lyon, Miami, Nemaha, Osage, and Shawnee.   Kansans wanting to volunteer are urged to call 211 for more information.  Those wanting to give monetary support can make a donation at www.KSReady.gov.