Six months after the storm; faith, frustration temper rebuilding
RINGGOLD, CATOOSA COUNTY, GA (WRCB) --Six months has taken away just enough of the wrath the tornadoes wrought upon Cherokee Valley Road, for some in Ringgold, GA to see an end to it.
"Everybody comes up and tells you, oh--how horrible, what it must have been to be here through the tornado, what did it sound like," Myra Cochran says. "Was the wind bad, well duh! People have it all wrong. The tornado comes through in a minute and left all of this."
'This', for Cochran, is a slab where her 4,000 sq. foot home stood, before trees crushed the roof and fire gutted the rest.
A swimming pool, six months' stagnant.
Her son Cedric's speedboat sits on a trailer, with no garage to shelter it. It's too expensive to fix; too devalued to sell.
The winding driveway to his own home took five days to clear.
"There is no 'normal' now," she says.
Thirty days after the tornado, all the Cochrans cleared out; to clear their heads.
"We kept finding excuses to stay away on vacation," she laughs. "I actually cried when we left the hotel room in Myrtle Beach! We don't want this to end, because we knew what we were coming back to."
Finances and frustrations, would force their return to reality.
"We have $46,000 worth of stuff that needs to be moved and no way to move it," she says. "How do you get 50 acres of trees, and that's what we had--to the road?"
But until they do, the Cochran's insurance company won't pay to rebuild.
Forget FEMA; adjustors for the Federal Emergency Management Agency told them the house was livable, so no settlement.
Curfews made life even more complicated.
"You couldn't go out after 9(PM), you couldn't come home after 9," she says.
Law officers were guarding against looters and dumpers. They came anyway.
"One of the rubberneckers cursed my daughter-in-law because she drove past them and up the driveway," Cochran says. "I guess she spoiled their picture."
And yet, the Cochrans plan to start building back a home next spring.
"I may stay, I may turn around and sell it," she says. "But either way, it'll be on our terms. Not nature's, not the insurance company's, not anybody else's. This is home. But it's not home, yet."