Tree Giveaway Helps Cleburne Rebuild from Tornado

Generosity is helping to give a new landscape to tornado ravaged Cleburne.

On May 15, 2013, a mile-wide twister left more than eight miles of destruction in the Johnson County community. It damaged more than 1500 homes. It was one of 19 tornadoes in North Texas that day.

Cleburne resident Bruce Anderson is grateful he survived the storm.

"The neighbors big 50 foot oak tree fell right on time just missed me by a little bit. Then we lost another," said Anderson.

Anderson was first in line at the HEB store in Cleburne to get one of 300 free trees. It is a collaborative effort to help green up the hardest hit neighborhoods.

"They're offering free planting for the folks you can't do it, the potting soil they're giving us all kinds of stuff very beneficial," said Anderson.

"These trees are going to add to these property values," said Matt Grubisich with the Texas Trees Foundation. "It's going to help save energy in their homes. It's going to increase sale-ability of their homes."

There is progress in some of the hardest hit neighborhoods of Cleburne. In one case a duplex had to be leveled and rebuilt. There's a lot of new buildings but not a lot of trees.

Grady Easdom replaced one of the many trees he lost. He recalled the storm.

"Living room and kitchen ceiling caved in," Easdom said. "We rebounded we come back better than ever."

Cleburne mayor Scott Cain told NBC 5 there will be a "low-key" commemoration on May 15, 2014 to mark one year since the devastating tornado.

The city will also roll out "Operation: Cleburne Pride." He described it as a city-wide code enforcement effort to help neighbors in need.

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