Remembering May 19 Tornado: Survivors Still Displaced

Monday, May 19th 2014, 7:46 pm
By: News 9

One year after a deadly tornado devastated a neighborhood near Shawnee, victims are still living in temporary housing.

The storm hit the community of Steelman Estates hard. Charities are still helping families rebuild, but a year later ... money is tight. Victims continue to wait.

Sherrie Starner and her son spent part of Monday in the shell of their future home hanging laundry on a line to air dry. Next door is where their temporary housing (motor home) is located. For the family of seven people, it's not easy.

"I've got little grandkids, and they like to play ... and you can't do that in there," said Starner. "It's been rough, but it's getting better."

The Starners were just a few miles from their home when the storm hit. In harm's way, they shielded themselves from strong winds in a gas station carwash.

"Every report that we had got ... everything out here was leveled," said Starner. "We were fully prepared for nothing. My dogs rode it out in the house."

Electricity was out to neighbors for a week. Running water was down for seven weeks. Now, 12 months later, a few people have been in their homes for three months. Others are still waiting.

"We'll sit here and wait until it gets finished," said Starner. "That's what we're going to do."

More area shelters have been installed in the past year, including a public one paid for by donations. People in the area say the work is far from over, but the help has never went away.