Woodland Bay: "We are storm survivors, not victims"
By Matt Barbour, Weekend Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- Saturday marked the anniversary of the destructive March 2nd tornado that wiped homes off the map in Hamilton County. But people living in one Harrison neighborhood say they are storm survivors, not victims.
Neighbors who live in the Woodland Bay neighborhood say they are pressing forward with rebuilding their lives. Even though some have moved on, those in the community held a reunion to celebrate how far they have come.
The Woodland Bay community gathered at the entrance of their neighborhood exchanging hugs and hellos. They also took pictures in front of their sign proclaiming the fact they are survivors, not victims, of the March 2nd, 2012 tornado.
"We were determined to get this neighborhood up and going again. So here we go," says Cathie Wallace.
Neighbors took a tour of the homes that have since been rebuilt, celebrating the progress.
"We feel like we were strong before and we're stronger since," says Wallace.
"We're celebrating the fact that we're all still here. All the people that is," says Jack Mitchell.
Mitchell has since relocated from Woodland Bay.
"The house was in this area here," he says, pointing to his old lot.
Last year we introduced you to Mitchell as he and his wife tried to salvage what they could from their home of 27 years.
"We very well could've been killed if we'd been home," he told us last year.
The tornado ripped his home in half.
"Part of it was still standing, but it was demolished. We lost a lot of pictures and things that mean a lot to you," he says.
Mitchell and his wife now live in Cleveland, saying at first it was hard adjusting. The storm uprooted their lives just like it did to many homes and trees in Harrison.
He says most importantly, he is just glad to be alive and celebrate the fact that he and his former neighbors are survivors .
"It's given me a lot more respect for those storms. I tell you, if someone tells me now that there's one coming, I'm going to do what I should do," says Mitchell.
The Woodland Bay neighborhood tries to get together once a month, saying that destructive day brought them all closer together.
Overall, the March 2nd tornado destroyed 82 homes in Hamilton County and caused nearly $17 million in damages.