Prodigal Sign Lost in Dresden Tornado Returns Home


Sign Discovered 46 Miles Away by Wisconsin Man Visiting Puryear 

Shannon Taylor, Associate Editor

Recovery Day: After a whirlwind of a journey of 46 miles, Deb Kidwell’s Lake Nowhere sign returns home after almost 2 years.

In December of 2021, a tornado swept through Dresden leveling much of the city including Kountry Korner, where Deb Kidwell, owner of Lake Nowhere, had a bench sitting out front with her farm’s name on it. The sign on the bench measured 4’ X 2’ and was made from aluminum ⅛” thick and weighed approximately 15 pounds. 

Many members of the community who visited Kountry Korner over the years, took pictures in front of that bench. Shortly after the tornado, Kidwell visited Kountry Korner to see if her bench had survived. Sadly, the base was buried in five feet of rubble and the sign itself was gone, Kidwell said. 

“This past summer, I received a phone call from a young man who asked if I was missing a sign. It took me a second to realize what sign, and I replied, “Why, as a matter of fact I am missing a sign!” He told me that he was visiting Tennessee from Wisconsin, had been walking in one of his Grandfather’s cornfields and had discovered a sign. Since it was fairly intact, he could actually read the phone numbers on it, and decided to call,” Kidwell stated.

Kidwell asked where he was located and it turned out that he was about 46 miles away in Puryear, TN. “Whoa! That sign sure flew a long way,” Kidwell exclaimed. 

Kidwell had a friend of hers who lived near Puryear who volunteered to pick the sign up and bring it back to her. 

Kidwell said that last summer when she found out about the sign’s recovery, she was curious about what the record distance was for a piece of storm debris to travel and she discovered that in 2011 a paper receipt had flown 525 miles from Joplin, MO to Royal Center, IN. This trip more than doubled the previously held record for the distance storm debris traveled of 210 miles set back in 1915 in Great Bend, Kansas.

“My little sign had not broken any records in its flight,” Kidwell stated.

Kidwell visited Kountry Korner recently and talked to the owner, Mike McCaslin, regarding the future of her wayward sign. McCaslin suggested hanging the sign somewhere in the store and Kidwell suggested wanting a placard to go along with it. For now the sign’s future is, “still up in the air,” Kidwell said. 


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