JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KCTV) -- A local Special Olympics volunteer coach was saddened when a tornado ripped through the Special Olympics Headquarters in Jefferson City, and the onslaught of weather forced the cancellation of the Summer Games in Springfield.
"It just hits at you. It hits hard at you," said Amy Roberts, a volunteer coach for Special Olympics athletes in Jackson County.
Surveillance video from the Jefferson City Headquarters shows when the tornado hit, blowing out the doors, sending debris swirling in the shape of the twister itself.
The 16-acre campus was years in the making, and is the only facility of its kind in the US, a central training spot for all sports focused exclusively on those with special needs. They had been open only six months when the tornado ripped through.
Roberts, who coaches basketball, softball, volleyball, track and field, couldn't look at the pictures of the damage.
"My husband would be like, hey look at these pictures. I'm like, no, I can't look anymore. I've looked enough."
The tornado was a blow not just for the organization, but as well for Roberts, who went to Jefferson City High School.
Members of Mizzou's baseball team helped to remove debris.
"Helping our friends at the Special Olympics," said TJ Sikkema, a Junior Pitcher with the team.
It’s a response that no doubt bolsters the strained spirits of those tasked with rebuilding and of the Special Olympics athletes.
"We'll all be brace and continue to rebuild."
The facility is open for free to the athletes and 60 percent of them are at or below the poverty level.
A spokesman for Special Olympics Missouri says they expect it will take about 9 months to get things back up and running.
Insurance covers a lot of the cost but they’re also taking donations. If you would like to donate, you may do so on their website here.