Thankful in the Heartland - Crosstown Tornado

Thankful in the Heartland - Crosstown Tornado
By: Holly Brantley
CROSSTOWN, Mo. - All this week on Heartland News at Five, people across the Heartland tell us why they are thankful. We begin in Crosstown, where little remains of homes in which families enjoyed countless holiday seasons.
Much of Crosstown was swept away by a tornado. Still, many folks there count their many blessings.
Tom and Loretta Lybarger lost their home, their church, and yet they expect a joyous holiday season. They have a home provided to them. Just one reason they feel thankful. "Your life can be turned upside down, literally, in less than five minutes," Tom Lybarger said.
As they look at pictures, Tom and Loretta hardly recognize their Crosstown home. "We were just in a daze," Loretta recalls. "You don't know what to think. You had three walls and the roof was gone."
But, the Lybarger's still had their faith. "We just thank God for their lives," said Tom.
With the help of Perry County Nursing Home, Loretta says it didn't take long for life to feel like normal. "I just appreciate it so much," Loretta said. "I don't know how to tell them."
The nursing home offered the couple an apartment at Independence Square. Combined the couple gave more than 30 years of service to Perry County Nursing Homes. Now, in turn, administrator Bonnie Schnurbusch says the staff feels blessed to be able to give back to them. "Anytime you help it's a win-win...this is a very rewarding situation," said Schnurbusch. "We do appreciate being able to stay here. She's been so good to us. They even hooked up my stove!"
Now as she prepares her famous Peanut Brittle, Loretta says it's the small things that make the apartment feel even more like home.  Little things, like an angel figurine the tornado spared. For the Lybarger's, a reminder that God's Grace can be found even in devastation.  "It's amazing how things change, but life goes on and God's been good," said Loretta.
The Lybarger's went to Bethlehem Baptist Church in Crosstown. It was torn down shortly after the tornado, but recently the board decided to rebuild. The Lybarger's say it's a sign many blessings are in store.  Several Landlords also offered housing to tornado victims free of charge.