Progress being made three months after tornado - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Progress being made three months after tornado

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It took only seconds for a tornado to cause major damage to a small community in Van Buren County in April, but it's taken months to make significant steps in the rebuilding stages.

The scale may have only labeled the twister an EF-2 tornado, but it's impacted some in a small Arkansas community on a larger level.

Transitioning from rainy weather and debris in April, the Botkinburg community now has arranged lumber, and rays of sunshine.

Although Wednesday marks three months since the tornado touched down, finding missing pieces remains a daily mission for those whose homes are still unlivable.

"This room, I haven't really gotten to go through yet. I've got some of the kids books," said resident Mandy Thomas as she looked through bags and tubs of her family's belongings.

Thomas uses what used to be her home, as a storage area for some of the items they managed to save after the tornado. She isn't sure of everything inside, but Tuesday our cameras rolled as she found a very sentimental item.

"Aww, this is my baby picture, when i was born," Thomas said with a deep breath.

"Something very special."

The church that once stood here was completely flattened by the April tornado, but board-by-board and nail-by-nail, much of the community is putting itself back together again.

"We've had a lot of help from the community. We had a lot of private donations come in, around $20,000 to help us get started," said Rocky Thomas, Mandy's husband and youth pastor of the Botkinburg FourSquare Church.

"Once all the paperwork was done and things were finalized the progress made was phenomenal from that point on."

The Thomases live next door to the church that was demolished, but not even high winds could damage this community's spirit.

"Even looking back, even now you're still amazed," Rocky Thomas added.

"Looking at pictures of the day after, at all the people that came and helped, and the chainsaws from Center Ridge, Clinton and just all over."

The church anticipates construction being done in around six months, hoping to ring in a new year with brand new grounds.

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