32 years ago this week, tragedy struck an Orange County Elementary school.

On November 16th, 1989 a tornado touched down and struck East Coldenham Elementary School in Newburgh, New York. Reports from that day 32 years ago explain that the tornado struck a glass wall in the cafeteria where over 100 first, second and third grade students were eating lunch.

Valley Central School District shared on their website that at the time of the destructive weather event the Principal at the time "Harvey Gregory was joined by teachers, custodians and other staff members who immediately got children out of the cafeteria, telling those that could move to run, and going through the rubble to find the others. " They add that on that November day in 1989, 200 first responders arrived on the scene and began a 7 hour search in the rubble.

Sadly, 7 children died that day while 2 others passed away shortly after at the hospital. 18 others were reportedly injured.  1 other child passed away in a car accident after a driver was distracted by the destruction at the elementary school.

We remember those young lives lost at East Coldenham Elementary School:

Mark Flanagan
Jennifer Homan
Amy Innis
Joanna Lichtler
Larae Litchhult
Peter Orsino
Charles Scotto
Adam Soltis
Maria Stuhmer
Rosalie Sbordone
VCSD explains that afterwards the tornado was studied as was the structure of the building. When the lunchroom was repaired, the design of the wall was changed to 3 arched windows.
Today, there is a memorial garden, as well as a stone monument called "Loved Eternally" that sits near the East Coldenham Elementary schools Principals office that reads "Your memory adds sunshine to our lives" according to a press release from Valley Central School District.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were effected by this heartbreaking tragedy.

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