Brookport Tornado Six-Month Anniversary

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By Evie Allen

BROOKPORT -- Brookport is marking six months since an EF3 tornado barreled through the community.

The twister took out several homes and businesses, killing four people in the process, and leaving the community devastated. Dozens of mobile homes were destroyed, many of which were blown 100 feet or more. The tornado's path extended over seven miles from Brookport to Unionville. 

Cleanup is officially over, but there's still a lot of work to be done. Many members of the community are focused on rebuilding homes and moving forward.
 
Paul Roark has been living along Stacey Drive for 10 years.
 
"Out of 11 people, I'm the only one left on the block," he said.
 
He's spent the last six months trying to get his home back to normal.     
     
"I still wish I had my neighbors back."
 
The November 17th tornado took out his fence, the roof over his porch, and six windows out of his house.
 
"The more I turned, the less I seen and just everything gone. I don't know idea how I survived," he explained.
 
He has since repaired five of the windows and replaced the fence, but this time he put it in a different direction, covering where his neighbors used to be.
 
"Looking at all the mess and destruction for a period of time gets to you."
 
Roark still has a lot more repairs to take care of, but he's happy to see new homes being built.
 
The Massac and Pope County Recovery Committee is building homes for those who can't afford to rebuild, using FEMA money or insurance to do what they can.
 
"We start with the money they have and supplement that. Add to that, volunteer labor, and we should be able to put them in a new home and simply hand them the key," said Alderman Larry Call.
 
The group currently has approval for six different sites to build brand new homes. Call says he would like to see at least half a dozen more. He says he's sure Brookport will recover to better than it was before. 
 
"Keep on. There's that Brookport strong. There's that Brookport pride. Let's continue with more of that. Let's continue to make our community better," he cheered.
 
Call says he hopes to see people living in their new homes by the Fall and hopes to begin construction on at least a dozen more. 
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