Remembering The Renick Tornado
"I was concerned with the tornadoes, of course, and he says 'Oh, don't worry honey, we'll never get hit by a tornado.' Famous last words," Franklin explained.
Fortunately, they weren't the last words from her husband, but others weren't so lucky. Four died that day in Renick. The tornado didn't take the Franklins, but it did take their home. Since the tornado, the Franklins have called a trailer and their workshop building home.
"We're just now starting to move back into the new house. It's not quite ready, but we're moving in anyway," Franklin said.
Judy says she's ready to put the sad memories in the past.
"Up until now it's been a lot of grief, a lot of frusturation, and I think now that we're able to move back in and move forward. I think that it will be more of a reminiscient type thing now," Franklin explained.
"We've put it behind us now, we're better prepared. There' s no need dwelling on what happened a year ago, it's more important that we learn from it and prepare ourselves for if we have another one," Daren Barfield, mayor of Renick, said.
The mayor says people in the town are doing just that, moving on. Families aren't the only ones in Renick trying to start new, volunteers are working from the ground up to make the dream of the first and only church in Renick a reality. Volunteers vacuum, sweep, and paint the building that will be the new Southern Baptist Church.
"I think we can take the momentum that came as a result of that tornado; it was devastating at first but in the long run it's going to turn out to be a tremendous blessing for everybody," Rick Hall, a pastor, said.
Judy says volunteers came to her house day after day to help pick up the pieces.
"This is a really small town, ya know what I mean; this place was just buzzing with people," Aaron Hulse, Renick Board member.
The town plans to thank those volunteers with a presentation at the school and a service in their brand new church. At that time, the town will introduce a design for a memorial to those killed in the tornado. And for those who survived, it's a way to put it behind them.
"I kept telling my friends , 'If you guys didn't want us Californians out here, you could've just said so. You didn't have to do all of this.' So, we've tried to keep a sense of humor about all of this. But my sense of humor is starting to wear thin... I think now we can go ahead and go forward," Franklin said.
It's been a slow clean-up, but box by box people are moving back in and moving on. The presentation in the school will start this Sunday at 3 p.m. and will move to the church at 6 p.m.