Brimfield, Mass. Residents Reflect on Tornado - NECN

Brimfield, Mass. Residents Reflect on Tornado



    Brimfield, Mass. residents reflect on tornado

    Friday marks 1-year anniversary of historic weather event (Published Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014)

    (NECN: Katelyn Tivnan, Brimfield, Mass.) - Friday, June 1, marks one year since one of the worst weather events in Massachusetts history.

    A powerful tornado tore through Western and Central Massachusetts - destroying properties and lives.

    One of the hardest hit areas was the town of Brimfield.
    Francisco Gonzalez is one of the many Brimfield residents still rebuilding after last year's storm. One year after the twister hit ground, his home is close to being finished, but he says it has been a long process.

    "Just want to get back, trying to get back to normal," Francisco Gonzalez said.

    Gonzalez says he weathered the storm in the basement with his wife and 3-year-old daughter. Once it passed, the basement was the only thing left behind.

    "Looked up and there was nothing there, took a little while to sink in," Gonzalez said.

    "I think people are thinking its over and its not over yet," Nicole Marchand said.

    Nearby, Marchand is watching, as pieces of her childhood home are put back together.

    Her family is living in temporary housing on their property. She says simply having a roof over her head doesn't make it home.

    "Hard to put into words, I guess the general feeling for me is I always feel like iIm trying to get home and I can't get home," Marchand said.

    Marchand says the rebuilding process has been slow.

    She says it took a long time for her family to get the insurance money to begin construction.

    The home is expected to be finished this July.

    She says the kindness of others has helped her through the ordeal.

    "The coolest part was volunteers, people who came the first week after the tornado and still come by to say hi and bring something and see if they can help in anyway," Marchand said.

    Cici Emmanuel moved to Brimfield right after the tornado hit. She says that seeing the community's reaction to the storm has been heartwarming.

    "There's been a lot of volunteers helping out and everyone's been really helpful we actually got to know a lot of people that way too," Emanuel said.

    "As awful as this experience has been its taught me something about people and community," Marchand said.