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'Home for Christmas' has new meaning for Raleigh family

Posted December 23, 2011

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— For Alvin Martin and his family, there's no place like home – even if boxes are everywhere, and he can't yet sleep in his own bed.

His home was one of five destroyed in April when a tornado ripped through the McKinley Mill neighborhood in northeast Raleigh. Tornado in downtown Raleigh April 2011 tornadoes

The Martin family lost everything, and they had to move into an apartment. Eight months later, they are back in their home celebrating the holidays.

"We just became thankful that we had somewhere to live, that we're together, that we were safe and, in time, everything was going to be all right," Martin said Friday.

Insurance covered the $70,000 repair bill, and although costs weren't a worry, the rebuilding process was more of a test of patience and perspective.

"It taught us that we've been blessed to have what we have, but those things are materialistic things," Martin said.

'Home for Christmas' has new meaning for Raleigh family 'Home for Christmas' has new meaning for Raleigh family

The whole experience, he said, has strengthened his faith in knowing that there are always brighter days ahead. Brighter days like the first day they were back in their house three days ago.

"Us sitting down and having a meal here was really good," Martin said.

The Christmas tree is up and the gifts are wrapped, but what's most important this year is just being home with wife Joanna, 22-year-old daughter Kellie, and 18-year-old Alvin Jr.

"That is the best Christmas present I could get," Martin said. "Look at where we are today. We're back home, and we're happy.


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