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Remembering May 19 Tornado: Story Of Compassion

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Bill Howard said he and his family were lucky. Bill Howard said he and his family were lucky.
POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY, Oklahoma -

Monday marks one year since a tornado killed two people and devastated a community near Shawnee.

Most of the Steelman Estates neighborhood was gone because of the storm. A majority of the homes were rebuilt by Monday. Not everyone had shelters or safe rooms one year ago.

Bill Howard said he and his family were lucky.

"We knew that the tornado was right over us," Howard said.

Howard, his wife and seven neighbors stayed safe inside Howard's underground shelter. It was a full house with two dogs. All survived thanks to Howard's compassion.

"Everything around us was destroyed except the little place next door," Howard said.

Howard received $16,000 worth of damage, while others lost everything.

"I was at work, and I get a text from my dad that says get home now, I need your help ... I never thought that I'd come home and have my entire neighborhood gone," tornado victim Chelsea Cullip said.

For many people in the area, electricity was out for a good week. Running water was down for seven weeks.

Although people tell News 9 they felt forgotten after the Moore tornado one day later, charitable organizations have installed a neighborhood storm shelter and continue to work to rebuild homes. Some people have only been in new homes for just three months. Other people still have a long way to go.

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