Rebuilding a year after the El Reno tornado

Rebuilding a year after the El Reno tornado

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People in El Reno are still recovering after a 2.6 mile tornado tore through the rural area around the city almost a year ago.

According to the National Weather Service, 21 people died in the tornado and the flooding that came after.

And Friday, tribal leaders chant a special blessing for a new beginning.

They came together to celebrate a new Indian clinic to replace the one destroyed in the tornado last year.

"Within Indian county healthcare is the number one concern and having a void here is devastating," said Cheyenne-Arapaho Health Director Nicolas Barton.

The clinic served 18,000 people a year before it was damaged beyond repair.

After the ceremony patients take a tour, glad they no longer have to drive hours to see a doctor.

"It's really nice to see everyone coming together and this day finally come," said clinic patient Kandace Howell as she held her young son Kywin.

All over El Reno there are signs of rebirth of buildings, lives and homes.

You can still see some damage, but many houses are back and better than before.  

"New roof, new ceiling, new floors," said Coy Day pointing out the upgrades at his home.

Day spent the last year making his house livable again. He remembers the May 31 as a close call.

"I barely slammed that front door when it hit and I got down into the basement and the house shook and rattled. I didn't think there'd be a house left when we got up, I really didn't," he said.

Now, just a small pile of debris from his radio tower remains.

As he and the community continue to recover what they lost, while giving thanks for what they didn't.

"I think the good lord was watching out for us," Day said.

The new Indian Health Center is at 1801 Parkview Dr. and will be open for business Monday morning at 8 a-m.

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