St. Louis Public Radio News
11:36 am
Wed May 14, 2003

President Surveys Damage in Pierce City

Pierce City, MO. – President Bush stopped in southwest Missouri Tuesday to view damage from earlier tornadoes.

He was in Pierce City, one of the hardest hit downs, and surveyed the destroyed downtown whose shops once served as a stop for tourists.

Scott and Lynette Rector waited patiently in the rain for a chance to show President Bush the devastation to their downtown business.

The president stepped from his vehicle in the rain to spend a few minutes with the Rectors, who marked the first anniversary of their restaurant and antique shop the first of this month.

Three days later a tornado ripped through downtown Pierce City. It destroyed the business district including their shop, Freda Mae's.

Lynette Rector says Bush promised the federal government will do all it can to help them rebuild.

The Rectors hope to have a business re-established on the spot within six months. But, however long it takes, Scott Rector says the couple is committed to Pierce City.

A thunderstorm drenched Bush and his entourage during the visit. House Speaker Catherine Hanaway and Senate President Pro-Tem Peter Kinder had to turn down Bush's invitation to tour the damage.

Hanaway and Kinder were in Jefferson City, working on the budget.