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Past tornado victims give advice on how to move forward

Posted at 5:14 PM, May 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-31 18:42:50-04

OAK GROVE, Mo. — Recovering from tornadoes is a long, difficult and emotional process. Many people in our area know the pain people in Lawrence, Linwood and Excelsior Springs are feeling after Tuesday's storm.

It was just two years ago that an EF-3 tornado tore through Oak Grove, Missouri, damaging nearly 500 homes.

A majority of Oak Grove has rebuilt since the tornado swept through town. Homeowners relied heavily on insurance, and so did the city.

LISTEN: Kansas City shows resiliency after devastating tornadoes

Victoria Richardson showed 41 Action News the repairs she's done to her home. She said she still has her work out for her.

"Almost all of it was gone, we had to do this whole part right here, of course we had to put in a new roof on," Richardson said.

Her house sustained at least $100,000 worth of damage covered by insurance.

Since Oak Grove wasn't eligible for federal disaster relief, they too, relied on their insurance company.

"We had one major building that ended up being called destroyed, so it was demolished. But that was insured and we got a settlement on that," Mark Sherwood, with City of Oak Grove Emergency Management said.

According to the city, debris removal was the only out-of-pocket cost they endured.

They had some advice for Linwood, Kansas.

"If you get donations, and I'm sure they will hang on to that money, don’t spend everything at once," Sherwood said.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly told 41 Action News the state is working as quick as possible to help those impacted by this week's tornado. Her office is working closely with FEMA and assures that if federal funding isn't available, the state is ready to step in.

"I’ll be talking with the legislature and we’ll probably need to make a special appropriation for disaster relief, but that’s something we can do through the finance council," Kelly said.

In the meantime, Richardson said patience is key.

"Because it’s going to take time and some people might not even want, you know, they may just want to leave I'm sure because we had neighbors that left," she said.