Habitat for Humanity Helps Rebuild Grandbury Home

Olga Hernandez was excited to move out from her mobile home and into her own house. She had put in about 200 hours building it alongside volunteers from Habitat for Humanity, and she was already thinking about ways to decorate it.

Then, on May 15, a tornado swept through her North Texas neighborhood. It killed six people and destroyed numerous homes, including hers. But on Wednesday, she was back -- starting the rebuilding process with the help of Habitat volunteers.

"I know it was kind of emotional when I came out here the first time and I saw that the tornado had taken my house," the 35-year-old mother said. "I'm just thankful that we're able to build my house again."

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The Rancho Brazos neighborhood in Granbury, about 70 miles from Dallas, was one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods in a series of tornadoes that destroyed hundreds of homes. The damage is still apparent more than a month later, with homes missing roofs and windows, and tree trunks with their limbs torn off.

Hernandez's second home will be built quicker than the first. It should be ready in about a month, said Carey Gentry, president of Community Bank in Granbury, who was volunteering at the site.

And the new home will have a reinforced room inside to protect against another disaster, Habitat spokeswoman Lydia Traina said.

Hernandez's noted that the move-in date for her first home kept getting postponed due to paperwork or other conflicts. That's why she wasn't inside the night the tornado leveled it.

"I called it a miracle that we weren't even here," she said. "There's no way we would have made it through this tornado."

Hernandez is the single mother of four children. Her 14-year-old daughter, Arian, said she was sad about losing their first home, but focused on staying strong for her three younger siblings. Now, they can look forward to picking out rooms.

"I told them not to worry, and that everything's going to be OK," she recalls telling her sisters and brother.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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