Smithville resident shares love of hometown in Reader’s Digest

By Alice Ortiz/Monroe Journal

SMITHVILLE – Jill Horne, who teaches Grades 2-8 Gifted at Smithville, submitted a story to the Reader’s Digest’s “America’s Most Interesting Town” contest. Reader’s Digest asked residents around the country to tell their stories about what makes their hometowns and favorite places so special. Winners of the contest, which closed on May 31,will be determined later this year and announced in early 2013.

Horne said after the EF5 tornado hit Smithville on April 27, 2011, she had entered a few things trying to get items for Smithville.

“I had forgotten I had sent this in to the Reader’s Digest,” said Horne. “It had been posted on Facebook and somebody saw it and told me they had read it. I was really surprised. I was just trying to help our town.”

This is Horne’s story: An EF5 tornado tore through our town on April 27, 2011. It robbed us of businesses, the majority of our town’s buildings, and 16 precious lives. We were down, beaten, and bruised, but we were not defeated. We know we will never be able to get back what was taken in those ten terrifying seconds, but we are doing our best to rebuild things even better than they were for our future generations. We have learned what makes a town special is not its buildings. Our buildings are gone. Our citizens are what make our town special!

The short story was included in the July/August 2012 issue.

Horne also entered the Great American Financial Resources Classroom Makeover. She did not win, but placed in the Top 10 Finalists. She plans to enter that contest again this year.