Reporting Beth Germano
MONSON (CBS) – One year after a tornado ravaged the Central Massachusetts community of Monson, it remains a tale of two towns; Progress for some residents in their efforts to rebuild and a stalled return to normalcy for others.
Rose Deland, whose King Street home was in the tornado’s path, has yet to rebuild or even tear down the rotting structure that sits amid the ruins of trees. Now living in a rental property she can barely stand to visit the house she’s lived in since she was 15-years-old. “It’s been very emotional, very hard and very depressing,” she said.
A year long battle with the insurance company has been difficult, and the family has had trouble retaining a builder until recently “We took too long, they said, as far as getting things going. They’re the ones who decide how long it takes,” said her husband Robin.
They’re hoping to finally demolish the home in July, and replace it by November but Rose Deland says it will never be the same. “Life as we knew it doesn’t exist anymore, it doesn’t exist. It’s like starting a whole new life.”
When the town marks the anniversary with a ceremony on Friday, Corey Partlow says it will give him a chance to thank so many residents and volunteers. His home on Bethany Road was one of many destroyed, but he and his family moved into their newly constructed home back in November, one of the first on the street. “The kitchen is the same thing, they made it like it used to be,” he said about the house that replaces the one built in 1881. “It gives me an opportunity to thank a lot of people that helped me when we were going through this,” he said.
Still, many say the town has changed forever with an emptier landscape, and new construction dotting the area. Some empty lots mean building permits are still pending, some have chosen not to rebuild, or some have abandoned their properties altogether.
“I’m going to have to make it home again, I’m going to have to,” said Rose Deland.