SOMERTON, Ohio (WTRF) – You can see a powerful storm on a weather map—but those bright colors can’t paint the picture of what it’s like to be in one.

And a decade ago today, the small town of Somerton saw it for themselves, when the uncompromising derecho winds blew through.

We had called for mutual aid from Barnesville, and it was so bad up there that they couldn’t even get out of town. They had to turn around and go back.

Dennis Wilcox, Fire Chief

Siding blown off.

Tree limbs scattered on the roadway.

The storm left its mark everywhere you looked—but where it left the deepest impression was at the Somerton United Methodist Church, built in 1873.

We got the call as a church on fire. And here it wasn’t the church on fire, it was from that storm.

Laurie Price, Safety Officer

One resident remembered the entire roof flying off the building and stopping traffic in the middle of State Route 800.

The current pastor of the church wasn’t serving at the time, but he remembers the devastation vividly.

We saw the roof was completely off, and later found out that there was no way to reconstruct it and they had to build a new building.

Rev. Dale Warrick, Pastor, Somerton United Methodist Church

With the help of committed long-term volunteers and donations from all over, they got to work.

And three years later, the church reopened with the surviving bell from the original building still intact.

The building isn’t the church, the people are the church, but the building gives us some place to be.

Rev. Dale Warrick, Pastor, Somerton United Methodist Church

Ten years on, there’s hardly a trace of that day’s devastation.

But the memories will help the town through if they ever find themselves in the eye of another storm.

I would be laying on the siren to let everyone know to take cover.

Laurie Price, Safety Officer