Western Massachusetts residents remember powerful EF-3 tornado 10 years later

Massachusetts

(WWLP) – Ten years ago, at this hour, people all over western Massachusetts were just beginning to assess the damage left behind by that EF-3 Tornado. 

For many, it wouldn’t be until the following day when daylight would show the true destruction caused by the powerful storm. 

The tornado touched down in western Massachusetts, leaving a 40-mile path of destruction from Westfield to Charlton. Three people were killed, and 200 others were hurt. 

This is the moment that so many remember, the tornado coming across the Connecticut River live on 22News. We watched as the twister picked up strength and continued its path through eastern Hampden County. 

One thousand and four hundred homes, and nearly 80 businesses were damaged and destroyed. 

Monson 

The First Church of Monson is where the church’s iconic steeple came crashing to the ground on that dark day. Something that will forever be remembered by the town and on its 10-year anniversary, their journey to heal continued. 

“This shows that people in Monson really care about one another,” said Suzanne Kelley, Chair of the Board of Trustees and church member. 

“Monson Strong,” that is what the town’s residents are saying 10 years after the June 1 tornado decimated their community. The tornado left mass destruction, crumbling homes and buildings. 

The first church of Monson also falling victim. The sun shines on this day as the community pauses to remember and promises to never forget. 

“This shows hope this shows the future,” said Kelley. “It shows how hard it can be sometimes to recover from things, but we have done that and we can move on from there.” 

Residents say coming together commemorates the town’s resilience in response to the tornado. Karen King is part of the Monson Street Angels who aided in the recovery efforts after the tornado hit. 

King said, “It was a catastrophic event. Here we are ten years later, and the town is looking fantastic but there’s still a lot of scars that we still need to heal.” 

The town is healing those scars slowly, with plans to create a memorial garden in the church’s lawn with its old bell placed in the center. 

A great reminder of the power a community has when united. 

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