Family Loses Home and Six Years of Memories

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BRANSON - In just a few minutes one family lost a home and six years of memories. A tornado cut through 22 miles of Branson and surrounding areas on February 29, damaging more than 300 homes in its path. 

Judith Marin and her family moved to their home six years ago and were left in complete shock after experiencing the first tornado to hit Branson in more than 20 years-- and seeing their home almost destroyed.

"I broke down into tears because this is my house and I've been living here since I was a little girl," Marin said.

Judith was the first in her family to hear about the tornado through Facebook. She looked outside and immediately grabbed her younger brother and sister and shoved them into a bedroom closet.  She hid in the closet with them with her head in her knees crying.  No one was hurt, but the tornado blew off the door to the closet where they were hiding.

"We had a deck right outside that covered our cars that flew over the house and I think that's what brought the chimney into the house, which made the roof collapse," Marin explained.

Several organizations such as The American Red Cross, United Way, and FEMA came together Monday at MARC, or multi-agency relief center, to help the Marin family and other tornado victims. The organizations offered food, supplies and information on how to rebuild. But, it wasn't just organizations that came to help.

William Durrant is a pastor at a local church and came to MARC to pay it forward. An anonymous donor gave him $500 and told him to find five different deserving families and give them $100 each.

"People are devastated everywhere. It's not just Branson, but we live here so we've got to take care of our own," Durrant said. 

Despite the devastation, Marin is keeping a positive attitude.

"Something bad happens but something good comes out of that bad...and my family is still together and I just have to have a positive attitude," Marin said.

Marin said contractors told her family it will take between six and eight months to fix their home.