Victims Of 2016 Tulsa, Rogers County Tornadoes Rebuild

Tuesday, March 28th 2017, 5:09 pm
By: Craig Day

The victims of the tornadoes that hit Tulsa and Rogers County last year are getting on with their lives.

The tornadoes left 26 miles of damage behind in Tulsa and Rogers Counties, with hundreds of homes damaged or destroyed, and many people with the hopeless feeling of what to do next.

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

But the dream home started with a real life nightmare.  A year ago, a tornado destroyed their house south of Claremore in Rogers County.

Stacey Cherrington said, "It was devastating at first, everything's gone. What's left is the debris and questions. What do you do?  Where do you start?"

Those are the same questions hundreds of others in Tulsa and Owasso faced in the tornadoes' aftermath. 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. Thirteen 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 under-insured.

A year later, the group is successfully winding down its work. Tulsa city crews also hauled off 231 tons of storm debris.

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

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

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

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 says there's often a message behind such a mess.

One about gratefulness, overcoming adversity, and lending a hand to those in need.

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