I was able to deliver a long overdue thank-you to Arlen Buhr this week.
Nine years ago, he loaned his bucket truck to allow then-Photo Editor John Dixon a bird’s-eye view of Main Street in Gifford. There, on a beautiful Sunday morning in November, hundreds of residents gathered to celebrate the village’s comeback from a devastating 2013 tornado.
It was a sight to behold.
On Thursday, Arlen and his mother — 95-year-old Marie — met me at the site. His 1991 truck has aged a bit since then but is still roadworthy. “I was getting ready to dig a hole and bury it,” he said.
Marie and her late husband, Wilbert, were in the photo that served as the cover of our 24-page tribute “Stronger Than Ever.”
Arlen, too, lost his spouse in the years since, Candy Buhr passing away in September.
Like so many in Gifford, Arlen didn’t flinch when we asked for help. Today, he spends his retirement helping one of his children, Michael, farm near Gifford.
“This is a good community with good people,” he said, adding he’d like to write a book about the village’s recovery. “Every one of these houses has a story to tell.”