Oak Grove celebrates progress made since tornado - KCTV5

Oak Grove celebrates progress made since tornado

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KCTV5's Ellen McNamara accepts the proclamation in Oak Grove. (KCTV) KCTV5's Ellen McNamara accepts the proclamation in Oak Grove. (KCTV)
OAK GROVE, MO (KCTV) -

When an entire town is devastated by a tornado, it’s the type of story we never want to cover.

That’s what happened to Oak Grove in March.

On Saturday, we saw just how far they’ve come since that time.

Homes were destroyed and lives were literally turned upside down when an EF3 tornado passed through.

Now, Oak Grove is a completely different picture.

Community members gathered on Saturday to celebrate at Septemberfest and acknowledge the strides they’ve made since the storm.

To our surprise, they also thanked KCTV5 for our role in helping rebuild the city.

 “You guys really stepped up in a huge, huge way,” said Jeremy Martin, Mayor of Oak Grove. “I mean, one that we've never seen before when it comes to other media outlets.”

The city issued a proclamation and thanked KCTV5 for hosting a telethon fundraiser to support relief efforts and helping several families get a head start on repairs.

“More than anything, you just kind of gave us a sense of hope and put us back in the right direction,” said Tracy Kemp, whose home was damaged by the tornado.

“You stepped up to help us raise money,” said Mayor Martin. “You stepped up to help those families that needed it most. And so, it was something we felt that the very least we could do was honor you guys for doing something you didn't have to do.”

The recognition is something we didn’t expect, but it’s an honor we’re humbled by.

It’s really thanks to the community, a community we’re now a part of, that Oak Grove is now stronger than ever.

“What we learned is, through adversity is strength,” said Mayor Martin. “We've certainly grown together as a community. We've really shown who we are and what we do.”

Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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