Meridian community celebrates tornado recovery

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - A year ago, George Reese Court Apartment Complex was the site of devastation and destruction, after an EF2 tornado hit Meridian. But Wednesday it was a place of celebration.

With the help of city and local leaders, Meridian Housing Authority held a Community Appreciation Day for the first responders and volunteers who played a role in the recovery from the Apr. 14, 2018, tornado.

"Since the tornado I think we've come (back) about 80%. We still have some families going through some smaller issues that we're trying to clean up, but at the end of the day, I think we have done a really swell job trying to get the families back to their day to day activities,” said Meridian City Council president, Tyrone Johnson.

Johnson was among the speakers Wednesday who shared their memories of that horrific day. Despite the loss and damage, Johnson says with the community's determination, he always knew they would rebuild.

"We were one of the first ones out here, especially at Reese Court when the roof came off. We were out here trying to get the roof off the middle of the street onto the side of the road so that the ambulance could have access to homes just in case people were affected by the storm. But it warms my heart," said Johnson. "Everybody is here celebrating and enjoying it. It's a really good feeling.”

MHA employee, Travonda Kelly, says being able to host a Community Appreciation Day means a lot to residents, considering where they were just last year.

"It’s a blessing to know where God can bring you one year and make a tremendous change within that year. It's a blessing. I'm quite sure the residents are happy to be back out here,” said Kelly.

The day consisted of music, food and fellowship.