Kenly, N.C. — About six months ago a tornado destroyed Argiro Gomez’s Kenly home and killed his wife Marilyn Gomez.
On Sunday, Gomez got a first glimpse of his new home – built on the same lot as his old home.
Gomez said he made the decision to stay on the same Kenly lot because his wife would have wanted it that way. She would have especially enjoyed the big kitchen, he said.
“As long as she had a good...big kitchen she was a happy woman. That was her place. She was an excellent cook,” Gomez said.
Staying in North Carolina also helps keep Gomez close to the couple’s son, Jonathan, who resides in Asheville.
At night, Gomez said he really misses his wife of 22 years, who died when five tornadoes touched down in four counties on Nov. 15, 2008.
“Whenever you go to sleep…there is an empty space over there. You wake up in the middle of the night, you just turn around. It’s tough,” he said.
Insurance money helped build the new home on North Wilson Street. Gomez is just starting to buy things for his new home. He hasn't moved in any of his old belongings, which are being held in a POd storage unit on his lawn.
Since the tornado, Gomez has been staying with his next door neighbors. He had hoped to move back into his home in March but said the wet weather delayed laying the foundation for his home.
Sick of staring at an empty lot, Gomez took a two-month vacation to Colombia and Canada to visit relatives. When he returned on Sunday, his home was nearly ready.
Crews are still working on the deck of the 2,001-square-foot house.
Gomez, who works at a jewelry store in Goldsboro, plans to return to officially move in by early June. He will be joined by his dog Jordan.
North Carolina ranks first in the number of nighttime tornado fatalities in the U.S. and 15th in total tornado deaths.
On June 3, at 7 p.m., WRAL-TV takes a look at advancements in forecasting and how future fatalities may be prevented. Tune in to "Focal Point: Twist of Fate," hosted by WRAL News anchor and reporter Kelcey Carlson.