Joplin and Tuscaloosa rebuilding after 2011 tornadoes

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TUSCALOOSA, Alabama - Back in May of 2011, a catastrophic tornado struck Joplin, impacting hundreds of thousands of lives. Since then, the city has made progress towards getting back on its feet.

Less than one month before this incident, a tornado devastated parts of Tuscaloosa. Just like Joplin, this tornado has shown Tuscaloosa's true colors and brought the city closer than ever.

Many Tuscaloosa businesses were forced to shut down completely or rebuild their company somewhere else. It was a time when people had to pick up the pieces and start anew.

One company that has found a way to stay afloat is Patton Realty. However, they were certainly impacted by the tornado that hit three years ago. Patton broker Carlie Patton vividly remembers that day.

"By the time I got there at the hospital, there were some things missing," Patton said. "A lot of stuff missing. Then when I went under the build up of debri over by my store, I realized my building was missing. It was a surreal moment."

Luckily for Patton, there was a nice surprise under the debri.

"All of our files and folders, right over here, were obviously very valuable for our business," Patton's secretary Charlene McGee said. "And they were completely full when this was over with. And we were very grateful for that. The one thing we needed to stay intact did."

Storn tragedies such as this one can create a sense of support in communities. Patton said she noticed this right away from her Crimson Tide.

"Our football team at the time was with the cleanup and help that they gave and how they brought together a community and how they were brought together by the efforts that they made," Patton said. "It made me proud to be a ‘Bama fan."

Even in the wake of the tornado, that didn't stop Patton from appreciating a witty moment from a random helper.

"I will forever be grateful to him because I do think he had a sense of humor," Patton said. "The sign he's holding says ‘Patton Realty Open House Today.' So you can see that we had an open house for quite a while."

Patton also mentioned that one of her agents worked with Nick Saban's sons to rebuild houses as a part of habitat for humanity.