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Several Oak Grove tornado victims move back into homes

Posted at 5:17 PM, Nov 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-30 18:50:53-05

OAK GROVE, Mo. — The Community Services League of Oak Grove is known for providing for families in need.

After an EF-3 tornado hit in March, the need for help has been nonstop. CSL Site Manager, Gina Parr said they help between 100 to 125 families a month.

“It's been a, not a doubly busy year, but it's been definitely an increase,” Parr said. 

While it’s been nearly nine months since the tornado hit, Parr has seen the impact it continues to make in her community.

“There's a lot of folks that have to have a mourning period,” Parr said. “I mean they've lost something. They've lost homes or items or whatever and there's some emotional support they need.”

Rebecca Bartlett is one of those tornado victims and remembers vividly what happened. 

“There's a lot of emotional stuff that I'm still trying to recover from,” Bartlett said. “When I heard the winds coming through I was scared. I was home alone, and I remember grabbing my little dog and running down to the basement. When the lights went off that's when the tears start rolling and you start praying real hard.”

She said her roof had the most damage. It’s since been repaired but is now dealing with major leaks.

“I'm trying to keep up with the home. Repairs are obviously coming in and paying for those damages is a little much,” she said.

Bartlett said there’s a lot of emotional stress she’s recovering from.

“I do a lot of prayer, you know, for those that are affected because I know there were people that lost everything, their homes, their belongings and I'm so grateful that my home was somewhat still intact,” she said. “It's kind of like an emotional damage for me... as far as realizing that this happened and financially is hard.”

Bartlett received utility assistance from the Community Services League.

“I was too proud to ask for help, and I know there was other people in the community who had worse damage,” she said. “I'm suffering because now I have leaks and it's ruining the interior of my home.”

While it’s been a long process for her and others, Bartlett says she’s continuing to take small steps forward.

“There's a lot of healing, a large healing process yet to go through,” she said.

Parr says there are quite a few families moving back into their homes, while others wait to get theirs rebuilt.

The Community Services League, Catholic Charities, and the Salvation Army are helping people get appliances as they start moving back in to make it feel like home again.