Monson, Mass. Rebuilds Bit by Bit After Tornado - NECN

Monson, Mass. Rebuilds Bit by Bit After Tornado



    Monson, Mass. rebuilds bit by bit after tornado

    Residents are recovering after last June's devastating tornado (Published Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014)

    (NECN: Brian Burnell) - NECN was in Monson, Mass. the night the tornado hit and has been back many times in the year since.

    Every time we come into town, it's different. More cleanup is done, and more new construction and renovation but even the people who live here will tell you it will be years if ever that Monson is back to what it was.

    The "then" and "now" pictures illustrate the change. Debris has been cleaned up. Houses too badly damaged to repair are gone. Some replaced with new construction. Others simply torn down - that's the downside.

    "We're going to lose our town hall here," said Monson, Mass. resident Barry Muldrew. "That's going to come down and a lot of the houses were built in the 1800's. Mine was an 1850 and its been renovated of course but - and so was this one."

    His son's house. A photo stands like a headstone marking the home's lifespan. A park will take its place. Something else that was lost by some - peace of mind. Remember the storms that swept through a couple of days ago? Barry does.

    "That storm was a little scary and I do have a little bit of PTSD," said Muldrew.

    Overall, though, the town is healing. Muldrew will tell you that as will everyone else. It helps that rebuilding is happening every day. The First Church is key. The 142-foot steeple was taken off by the tornado, and should be back up by Christmas.

    "The steeple really is as much a symbol as anything. It is a symbol of the core of this community. This church was founded at the founding of the town essentially," said Rev. Bob Marrone of the First Church of Monson. "I think symbolically it says that we're okay. It says that we're going to be alright."

    There will be a ceremony on Friday afternoon marking the anniversary of the storms.

    So, on the first anniversary at the ceremony, the politicians will have their say, but it's the people here who are bringing Monson back.