Local News

Tornado victims try to get back to normal

Posted November 18, 2008 6:00 p.m. EST
Updated November 18, 2008 6:03 p.m. EST

— The governor announced Tuesday afternoon that he plans to declare Johnston and Wilson counties state disaster areas, making state assistance available to victims of Saturday's tornadoes.

While they wait for insurance to help them get back their home, cars and belongings, the Stephenson family of Kenly got back to work.

Mark Stephenson paints cars at a car dealiership in Zebulon. He went back to work just two days after the twister blasted through his house.

"Yesterday was a little hard," he admitted Tuesday, "Today I'm getting more back into the groove."

"This is the best way I can look after my family," he said of spending time at work.

During his free time, he was on the phone with the insurance company, settling up for what he's lost.

Even with no home to return to, he has still returned to his property each day. "I've come back every day to just see to just make sure it's not a dream," he said.

His daughter, Brittany, 19, is also trying to move on. She planned to go back to class at Johnston Community College on Wednesday.

"It's better when i'm around people, when I'm doing things," she said.

The entire Stephenson family has been impressed by the generosity of strangers who have offered to help with their recovery.

"You just can't thank people enough," Mark Stephenson said.

Donations for tornado-victim relief can be sent to:

American Red Cross
801 S. Third St.
Smithfield, N.C. 27577

Checks should include "Wilson-Johnston tornado" in the memo line to make sure the donation goes directly to this cause.