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NEW PEKIN, IN (WDRB) -- Bundled up and braving cold temperatures, nearly 100 tornado survivors and their families embraced each other during a ceremony to remember the EF-4 tornado that ravaged the area exactly one year ago.
The tornado destroyed homes, businesses, tore apart livelihoods and lives - wiping out the Babcock family: Joseph, his wife Moriah and their three small children. Their deaths garnered international attention in a time when Henryville, Indiana seemed to be grabbing local headlines.
While those who gathered here on Saturday sipped hot coffee and wrapped themselves in blankets, the also cozied up to the idea that building isn't an overnight process.
"Oh my, it's been a long road. I just got to go home January 7th. We just 0moved back in our new home," said Lori Coats.
Steve Martin says he was working at the Saroyan Hardwood lumber business on March 2, 2012 when the storm passed through. He was operating a fork lift when the tornado hit him.
"I don't want to do it again. It sounded like a bunch of canons going off because I was in there with all that lumber and metal and steel," said Martin. "I'm just here with my kids I'm thankful they are all still here ok."
The Saroyan Hardwood business still sits in ruin. Martin says the owner is still dealing with his insurance company. Martin's relatives who lost their homes have since moved elsewhere.
"It's been rough. We manage. I'm just thankful that we are all still here because a lot of people didn't have that option," said Leslie Martin, his daughter.
The Babcock family was remembered during a balloon release ceremony. The white balloons were for the young family that was killed - the purple designated for the community still recovering.
Many of the residents here have just moved back into newly rebuilt homes. Others are still fighting with insurance companies or shopping bids around for cheaper repairs.