Rogers County Couple Continues Rebuilding One Year After Damaging Tornado

Thursday, March 30th 2017, 11:12 pm
By: Craig Day

One year ago, tornadoes left 26 miles of damage behind in Tulsa and Rogers Counties.

Tornadoes destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes and left many people with the hopeless feeling of what to do next.

Construction on Kevin and Stacey Cherrington's new home is almost finished. It's beautiful outside, spacious inside, and the couple is excited about moving in soon.

"This is my dream home," they said.

But the dream home started with a real-life nightmare.

A year ago, a tornado destroyed their house south of Claremore in Rogers County.

"It was devastating at first, everything's gone," Stacey said.

What's left is the debris and questions - what do you do and where do you start?

Those are the same questions hundreds of others in Tulsa and Owasso residents faced in the tornado's aftermath.

3/30/2017 Related Story: One Year Ago, Tornadoes Hit Tulsa, Owasso And Rogers County

Several blocks along the 46th Street North corridor in Tulsa were hammered.

The tornado destroyed five homes and damaged 301 others - 52 had major damage; 13 businesses and churches were also hit.

Tulsa set up a long-term recovery committee made up of government leaders and non-profit agencies to help people with no insurance or who were underinsured.

A year later, the group is successfully winding down its work.

Tulsa city crews also hauled off 231-tons of storm debris.

The Cherrington's couldn't believe the help they got from friends, family, and even complete strangers.

"It was just overwhelming," they said.

People cleared debris and picked up things that could be saved while lifting the Cherrington's spirits.

Kevin said, "Everybody talks about community, and until you actually live it and are in it, and get affected by all that love, it's awesome."

Their new house is being built on the same spot as their old one. The first thing installed was a shelter under the garage floor.

Stacey said there's often a message behind such a mess - one about gratefulness, overcoming adversity, and lending a hand to those in need.

"It just touched my heart, big time," Kevin said.