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A War & A Tornado: West Springfield Iraqi Family Forced To Rebuild Again

By Kathy Curran, WBZ-TV
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Damage in West Springfield from the June 1, 2011 tornadoes.

Damage in West Springfield from the June 1, 2011 tornadoes.

WEST SPRINGFIELD (CBS) – “I’m 14 years old and our house was destroyed by a tornado,” Susan Almawruth said as her eyes well with tears.

The house on George Street in West Springfield was more than just a home; it was a place of safety and a new beginning for her family after escaping war-torn Iraq a year-and-a-half-ago.

But that was all swept away in the tornado’s path. They lost their car, their home and all of their belongings. “It was so horrible. We just need an apartment to live in, safety we don’t need anything else,” said Susan.

WBZ-TV’s Kathy Curran reports

Until then the gym at the middle school is her family’s shelter along with so many others who lost everything. What’s left of some people’s lives is stuffed in trash bags.

That’s why Ann Simonet and her daughter came to help. After seeing the devastation firsthand they’ve made three trips to the shelter, donating clothing and supplies to help people like this get through another day.

The emotion can be seen on her face as she talks about what’s happened in her community.

“Even thinking last night how they were sleeping in the gym on the cots, we were lucky to be in beds nice and warm. How fortunate we are and lucky we are to have what we still have,” said Simonet.

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