MBS News – The men gathered behind Norman Bennett’s new trailer, sharing jokes and laughter. In their surroundings, the neighborhood had largely been reconstructed following the devastation of a tornado that struck the Flatwood community in November 2022.
Bennett observed his property, his gaze lingering on the trees that remained damaged from the tempest.
“When the trees, and the leaves, and the grass get to growing, it’ll beautify everything,” Bennett said. “It’ll get back looking all right. … You won’t even see them, it will be so green and pretty.”
Bennett settled into his mobile home two months ago, his residence being one of the six homes replaced by the River Region United Way, as Pastor Marcus Boyd reported. Boyd has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure every affected family has a roof over their heads again.
The River Region United Way gathered donations from Montgomery’s residents to purchase the trailers, marking a community-led initiative to help the affected families rebuild their lives.
In the community, there are 48 homes, out of which 19 either required repairs or were completely destroyed, data from the River Region United Way reveals. Notably, about 85% of the community members did not have insurance coverage.
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Boyd said everyone in the community is back in housing.
“Nobody is outdoors,” Boyd said.
Montgomery County is making significant strides towards rebuilding the community center demolished by the tornado. A groundbreaking ceremony for the new center was conducted on November 30, 2023, marking one year since the disaster.
Currently, the structure’s walls have been erected, with advancements being made daily.
While Flatwood has largely been restored to its pre-tornado state, the irreplaceable loss remains the lives claimed by the storm.
Besides the devastating impact that the tornado wrought on Flatwood, it killed two people. Chiquita Broadnax, 30, and Ceddarius Tell, 8, died in the tornado.