Marmaduke, seven years after the tornado

MARMADUKE, AR (KAIT) - Seven years ago today a devastating tornado ripped through parts of Marmaduke, destroying everything in its path.

"In the first 24 hours everybody had rallied. You could see the inspiration that brings this community together, that were going to survive this," said Marmaduke Resource Officer, Shane Martin.

However, it would be a long process of rebuilding and several changes to overcome it. After the tornado destroyed several homes, the town's population started to decrease. Folks who once called Marmaduke home, had moved away from the damage.

"Majority of them worked in Paragould so it made more sense to them to just rebuild or go buy in Paragould cause its closer to work," said Martin.

As families left, the school district began to see a decline of the number of students enrolled.

However, since then both the town and the schools have grown.

"Over these past few years were getting more population back here in town and were seeing more houses being built. It's kind of like a small little housing boom here in Marmaduke," said Martin.

Martin says he's happy to see his home town pick up the pieces but it's the memory of what was, that's hard to accept.

"There are always the cosmetic things that you miss, even sitting here I can remember what this place looked like before the tornado and it doesn't look that way now," said Martin.

Since then, safety has become a priority and a safe room was built for students and staff. The community can also use the safe room as long as it isn't during times that interfere with school hours.

"The community and school felt like it would benefit to have this on campus, not only for the school and safety of students but for the folks in the community," said Superintendent Tim Gardner.

Seven years later and the town is slowly recovering from the storm. For those who stayed to watch it rise from the debris, they know the town has come a long way.

"It's been a long process but I'd say we are definitely on our way back," said Martin

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