Rebuilding Crosstown

Rebuilding Crosstown
By: Holly Brantley

CROSSTOWN, Mo. --Folks in Crosstown still remember the severe weather that left a mark. A tornado touched down last September, destroying almost all of the town. It's been a long road for those who lost their homes, many chose not to return. But, lifelong residents, like Alice and Mike Garris, did not waste any time rebuilding.
The Garris's say they are living proof good things can follow the storm. A new home now stands in their old home's place. A fairy tale ending to what was a nightmare.
"We've got all new furniture and brand new house thanks to the tornado," said Alice Garris. "We've never had any of this before." 
A twist of fate, brought by an F4 tornado. After outrunning the tornado in their car, Alice and Mike Garris returned to find their home destroyed.
It took three months and nine days for more than 20 congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses to rebuild the house.  
"I've never had anything this nice," Alice said. "I've just got so many things I've never had. You're going to think I'm silly, but it's got a waste basket under the counter!"
The walls are new, but the tornado could not destroy the years of memories built on this spot. Plenty of reminders exist. Like a window sill, built right into the structure of the new house.
"This is probably 100 years old," Alice said. "It came off the old property. I don't know how the builders did that."
Other things like Alice's wedding bouquet, found in the debris, hangs on her new living room wall.
"It's neat she still has those mementos," said Kathy Taylor.
Taylor is one of the Garris's six children. Several rebuilt their own lives within sight of the couple's home.
"Maybe one day all the Garris's will be back in a row again," said Alice.
"I love my grandma, and I'm so happy to see her in her new house," said their granddaughter, Lindsey Koetting.
From near or far, all of the family looks forward to gathering in the new home for years to come.
"Even though the tornado was such a horrible thing something good really came out of it," said Lindsey.
Kathy agrees, "It's a fairy tale ending I guess."