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Little Axe, Newalla tornado victims slow to recover six months later


NEWALLA, Okla. — It’s been a long six months for May 19 tornado victims in the small communities of Newalla and Little Axe.

Some have been slow to recover but are kicking their rebuilding process into high gear as the winter weather approaches.

The memory of that day and the sight of the tornado coming for Keith Anderson’s home have not faded.

“Over and over and over, you don’t forget it,” says Keith Anderson. “When I jumped up and looked out it was there.”

He was inside his house as the tornado leveled it.

Anderson says, “I ended up with broken leg, broken knee, broken hip, broken back and four broken ribs in my back.”

The injuries have since healed and he says his community is responsible for lifting him up.

Large organizations like the Red Cross and Salvation Army have come and gone but locally owned Pecan Valley Disaster Relief still stands.

One of the group’s founders Bobbie Steely says they have been here for whatever tornado victims need, from food and supplies to just someone to talk to.

“I wish we could do a lot more,” says Steely. “We just want these families to know that we’re here and we haven’t forgotten about them.”

Everyday she’s watched this community try and get back on its feet.

“One story they’re not doing so well,” says Steely. “Then you go to someone else’s house and they’re doing so much better.”

Veronica Gottschalk is one of those finally getting to rebuild with the help of a volunteer group from Christian Aid Ministries.

Gottschalk says, “Believe me I feel blessed about that.”

Their community says it’s been a slow and long six months but all good things come with time.

Pecan Valley Disaster Relief is still in full force and available to all tornado victims in Little Axe, Bethel Acres, Newalla and surrounding communities that may not realize help is still available.

They are currently transitioning from short-term relief to long-term relief.

Visit their Facebook page here for more information.

Click here for more information on long term recovery.

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