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Tribe Turns Stilwell Tornado Victims' Rubble Into Relief

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It's been nearly a year since a tornado hit near Stilwell.  It destroyed a family's possessions, but it didn't take their spirit. It's been nearly a year since a tornado hit near Stilwell. It destroyed a family's possessions, but it didn't take their spirit.
"God allowed it to be destroyed so we could have a new home, a stable home. Not just a trailer that could just be blown away like that," Kristen Morton said. "God allowed it to be destroyed so we could have a new home, a stable home. Not just a trailer that could just be blown away like that," Kristen Morton said.
Baker kept his word. The Morton's were in their brand-new, brick home, just three months after their trailer was destroyed. Baker kept his word. The Morton's were in their brand-new, brick home, just three months after their trailer was destroyed.
STILWELL, Oklahoma -

It's been nearly a year since a tornado hit near Stilwell.

It destroyed a family's possessions, but it didn't take their spirit.

Life is good at Kristen and Randall Morton's.

"We're very blessed," Randall Morton said. "Just thankful that everything happened the way it did."

He's thankful because this time last year, things weren't so calm.

04/18/2013 Related Story: Scammer Uses Stilwell Family's Story To Get Money After Tornado

There was a tornado was on the ground, headed straight for their home.

"I honestly always thought it was ridiculous to leave because nothing has ever happened, but that weekend, I'm glad we left," Kristen Morton said.

The couple and their 2-year-old daughter took shelter up the road at Randall's parents' house.

And when they went home, they found they didn't have a home left.

"The tornado hit our trailer and … it destroyed everything, everything we had," Kristen Morton said.

But they had their lives and each other and a faith that put the disaster into perspective.

"God allowed it to be destroyed so we could have a new home, a stable home. Not just a trailer that could just be blown away like that," Kristen Morton said.

Both Kristen and Randall are members of the Cherokee Nation.

On the day of the tornado, Chief Bill John Baker showed up and made a promise that he would help them rebuild.

And he did. The Morton's were in their brand-new, brick home, just three months after their trailer was destroyed.

"That's all that we can be thankful for is that he was there and supported us and realized that we needed help,"Kristen Morton said.

The Morton's were the first Cherokee family to take advantage of a new housing program with the tribe.

It offers tribal members an affordable option for building a new house. Still, there are a few precious pieces that can't be replaced.

"Mainly it was pictures," Kristen Morton said. "There were a lot of pictures that we lost. Sentimental things with our little girl, we lost everything."

But the Morton's are ready to make new memories in the home of their dreams.

"It's awesome," Kristen Morton said. "I always thought about having a house-house, but yeah, I love it."

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