The buzzing of tile saws and rapid shots from nail guns don't faze Heidi. The 11-year-old poodle mix diligently surveys the reconstruction of the Orr Family Farm from the golf cart piloted by her master, Glenn Orr.
The May 20 tornado caused about $1.5 million in damage to the field trip destination, 14400 S Western, which attracts thousands each year.
The farm is planning to reopen Saturday.
Orr, a retired veterinarian who founded the 105-acre farm 10 years ago, said he and five of his staff, including Heidi, took shelter in the house next to the farm. There, Orr led a prayer asking that the tornado pass over them.
“Well, that's exactly what happened,” Orr, 81, said. “Not a shingle was disturbed on that house. So then, my next thought was, why didn't I pray for it to pass over the farm? I shouldn't have been so specific.”
The employees, family and barn animals at the farm survived the tornado, but the damage was extensive.
“We've tried to come back a little bit bigger and a little bit better than we were before,” Orr said.
The vintage carousel built in 1974, a landmark of the farm, has been rebuilt by the grandson of the man who constructed the original.