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Little Axe Residents Talk Road To Recovery

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LITTLE AXE, Oklahoma -

Tornado cleanup is underway right now in several areas hit by storms the day before that big Moore tornado. One of those communities is in Cleveland County, where the town of Little Axe was hit hard.

More than a week later, Little Axe residents are still picking up the pieces to what used to be their homes. Residents say volunteers have been great, but it's still a long road to recovery.

"It's just that devastating. I knew I was safe, but it plays a massive trick on your mind," says tornado victim Terry DeSpain.

Peeking through his storm cellar door, DeSpain watched the May 19 tornado flatten his Little Axe home and pin his next door neighbor to his jeep's windshield. All his belongings destroyed, but the worst thing taken is his peace of mind.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

"The trauma that it caused my family, my wife keeps waking up with nightmares every night, screaming and yelling," DeSpain said. "And it's just disturbing to me because in a small way my family isn't my family anymore, not the way we were before the storm."

Terry says his 6-year-old son T.J. seems OK, but doesn't act like himself. So the family comes each day to the Multi-Agency Resource Center at Little Axe Elementary School, to seek help for their well-being.

"They're having to make some really hard decisions: Where am I going to live? Where am I going to go? And that's where we can help," says Major Marion Durham, coordinator with the Salvation Army. "We're here to listen and hear their stories and offer encouragement and hope."

The Salvation Army offers hot meals, toys and clothing while dozens of services help tornado victims from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is the overwhelming help that inspires Terry to rebuild in Little Axe again.

"It's an awesome community" DeSpain said. "I mean everybody showed up to help, they're still helping, and I don't believe they'll leave until it doesn't even look like it's happened."

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