Looking Back: 2 Years After the Tornado

MARMADUKE, AR (KAIT) - April 2, 2006 at 6:20 p.m. sirens were blaring in Marmaduke.

Minutes later it was complete devastation.

Now the sun rises two years later on this community that has been struggling to rebuild.

There are still signs of that night -- many driveways still lead to a dead end, and trees are still dressed with fragments of clothing.

But for many life is starting over.

New homes are popping up in place of the rubble.

Connie Milner is putting the finishing touches on her new log home.

"We've all pitched in and worked hard...between family, friends, and a few people I've had hired along the way," said Milner.

She says even after losing one home to a fire and then having her next one blown away in '06 that she never had doubts about staying in Marmaduke.

"I love the community here. People are nice here. The school district is great. I love where I'm located. It's peaceful. I've got great neighbors. Yeah, I wanted to rebuild. I didn't want to leave," said Milner.

While many have rebuilt their homes and others work to rebuild their lives, foundations without walls show that Marmaduke will never quite be the same.

"The Marmaduke of two years ago is never going to be the same. There's just been too many changes," said Mayor Byron Phillips.

He says the hardest thing for his community is learning patience and that the city can't come back overnight.

"Yes, I wanted things overnight. I'm not going to say that I didn't. I really wanted the changes made quickly, and I had to learn that it isn't going to happen that way," said Phillips.

But although time moves slow, the progress is being noticed none the less.

"There's a lot of new construction, and yet there are a lot of houses that are still missing. There's a lot of property for sale, but it's changed a lot," said Milner.

And hopefully with every year that passes, the night of April 2, 2006 will slowly fade into history.

Update:  Since '06 the High School has been repaired and is expanding.  The new City Park and City Hall are also complete.  A.R.I. also is back on track and is also expanding its railroad car production facilities.

Story ideas or comments?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com.