A year later communities reflect on the Memorial Day tornadoes that hit the Miami Valley

MIAMI VALLEY — It has been a year since the Memorial Day tornadoes tore through the Miami Valley, but as communities work to rebuild their homes the destruction the storms left has not been forgotten.

>> How to watch our Memorial Day tornadoes special online

“It looked like a war zone, lumbar, brick, you name it," said Chuck Letner, mayor of Brookville.

“Some things were blown for miles that were never found. You sit and wonder what happened."

Brookville High School was one of the structures heavily damaged by last year’s storms.

Community members from Harrison Twp. still remember the very moment they realized how serious the storm was as they watched Channel 7.

“I heard her say there were tornadoes approaching the Shiloh area and I remember her getting her really teary eyed because she was also talking about West Milton in Miami County and so I said, Roberta, we better take this seriously and let’s think about heading to the basement,” said Deanna Fleet of Harrison Twp.

Fleet was outside when a strong gust of wind came through and she immediately told her family to head inside.

“It wasn’t but one minute later that everything broke loose, it was just unreal," she said.

>> Walking the path of the Memorial Day storms: Invisible wounds remain after damage cleaned up

Although the Memorial Day tornadoes will never be forgotten, many communities are working together to rebuild what was broken.

Letner said the restoration process is going amazingly well.

“We’ve had a lot of participation from not just contractors but from organizations that donated their time and money and did a terrific job.”

Fleet tells us that progress in her neighborhood has been a little slow.

“You can see from around here that some houses still need siding,” she said.

“A lot of the houses have been re-roofed. There’s a couple houses down the street that haven’t had much of anything done to them.”

Even though the clean up process is happening a little bit at a time, Fleet is confident that everything will eventually be good again.

As locals spend time reflecting, many stories have been shared about how these storms disrupted the lives of those in our communities one year ago, but we know there are so many more that have yet to be told.

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