Volunteers from across the country help man rebuild home - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

After The Storm: One Year Later

Volunteers from across the country help man rebuild home

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(WRCB) – "This is the new house the good Lord built me this past year after the storm," Apison resident Arthur Bates proudly shows off his new home, glad to have a place to call his own again. 

He lost his childhood home during the April 27th, 2011 tornado, a home more than a century old.

Bates wasn't home when the storm tore through his community, but he returned within minutes after it passed.

"They's just about 3 walls left," he says. "It was a shock... Just about everything I had was totaled or ruined."

Bates stayed in a Cleveland motel that night and moved half a dozen times while his new home was under construction.

Health problems kept him from helping much with the rebuild, so he depended on the kindness of others.

"They have come from California, Washington State, Maine, Florida," he recounts. "People have come all from over the US to help clean the mess up and help work."

Bates is grateful for those who made sure he has a place to stay, but at times wishes he still had his old home.

"I wouldn't take a million dollars for it, but I wouldn't go through it again for ten million," he says with a laugh.

As he continues to settle into his new surroundings, it's the familiar that makes him feel most at home.

"Grandpa's Chester-drawers, bout the only thing that was salvaged out of the old house," Arthur says.

Bates says he still needs a few furnishings to complete his new home, but just having a roof over his head again is enough.

"I can't tell you just how grateful I am just to be here," he says.

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