Rebuilding continues in Claiborne County after tornado

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CLAIBORNE COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Despite the heat, builders spent Friday working on Sheriff Day Ray's home, which was demolished by the tornado.

"We have the walls up, and we have the truss set yesterday and we're doing some covering as we speak," said Sheriff David Ray, with the Claiborne County Sheriff's Department.

Pat Bowman is ready to fix her home, too. Her front windows were blown out and her roof is gone. Right now she's staying in an apartment.

"I come back up here a couple times a week to get my mail and to water my plants and I just get sad all over again. You know, it's been home a long time. But I have a fighting spirit, I'm gonna fight right ahead and try to rebuild and make it the same home that my children grew up in," said Bowman.

The sheriff said there are stories of recovery and rebuilding everywhere. He said the experience has brought the community together:

"It the neighbor needs something over here, if there's two or three people here available they'll go over and assist them. If we need a piece of equipment that he has, we'll go get it. If I have a piece of equipment here, he'll come and get it," said Ray.

That's on top of all of the volunteers who helped after the storm. Inmates on trustee status also pitched in, picking up debris. The trustees collected scrap metal and wanted to do something to help the Community Missionary Baptist Church because its roof was damaged, so they sold the metal to a salvage yard.

"We gave the church that donation, which amounted to around a thousand dollars last Sunday," said Ray.

Even those that lost so much, like Bowman, are helping. Bowman is hoping her downed trees - now chopped wood - will be useful.

"I kept the wood out of my trees, thinking that there might be somebody that might use wood to burn and they might need it or want it," said Bowman.

Sheriff Ray said living through the tornado has changed his perspective. He said he thinks more about his family, neighbors and living conditions, and is grateful no one was seriously hurt or killed in the storm.

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