Long road ahead for families trying to rebuild in Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. - Families spent most of the day cleaning up debris and what was left of their homes on Friday, following Wednesday’s EF-3 tornado that ripped through parts of Kokomo.

“We just got unlucky; lucky that everybody survived, unlucky that it took out this section of town,” said Terry Munson whose home was destroyed in the tornado.

“We’re probably one of the oldest families that have lived here since 1958,” he said.

The home that was destroyed was in the Munson family for three generations. For such a special spot, rebuilding is the family’s only option.

When Wednesday’s EF-3 tornado came through, Munson’s mom and sister were huddled in a closet in the back corner of the house. When the storm was finished, that was the only section of the house that was still standing.

“We’re going to rebuild and we’re hoping to be done February, March timeframe,” said Munson.

“The worst that I’ve ever been involved in at all, yeah really, the worst ever,” said Sue Tickfer, whose home was hit by the tornado.

Tickfer lives down the road from Munson, where structures still stand, but inside, almost everything is destroyed.

“This is only a building, but it’s very precious to us too as well as each other,” said Tickfer.

Volunteers flooded Kokomo streets Friday, handing out food and water to families picking up the pieces of their lives.

“This is what our community does best. Gets together and helps each other out,” said Kerry Teachout, a volunteer passing out water.

Two days later, 140 people still remain in the Kokomo Red Cross shelter. Many are waiting to hear if they can go home, or if there’s anything even to return to.

According to Indiana State Police, following Wednesday’s tornado, 1,002 residential structures were damaged, 81 of those structures are considered destroyed, and 173 have suffered major damage.

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