PINER, Ky. - In Piner, so much was lost a year ago. And yet over this last year, so much has been gained.
The community has come together, neighbors helping neighbors, and families surviving, rebuilding, and learning how strong they really are.
Wherever Katie and Nathan Becraft look from their home in Piner, they see family. And wherever they looked on March 2, 2012, they saw family homes damaged or destroyed.
"It [took] five minutes to destroy something it took us five months to build back," Nathan said.
On March 2, their family was looking out for them.
"If it wasn't for [Nathan’s] grandma, we would have been at home," Katie said.
That grandma, Janet Cooper, spoke with 9 On Your Side right after the tornado flattened her 175-year-old home. When asked on March 2 if she thought the storm was a tornado, Cooper said “I don't know what it was, but I never seen anything like it.”
Nathan and Katie said Cooper was the one who told them to get in to the basement. So the Becrafts, their grandparents and their daughter took shelter from the tornado in the Becrafts’ parents basement.
It was over in the blink of an eye. And Nathan says the destruction he saw hit him right in the heart.
"The fences were down, debris everywhere, horses running around. It was chaos," Nathan said.
Friends, family, and even strangers began the cleanup. The Becrafts tore down their house two weeks to the day after the storms hit.
Katie says she cried when she saw the pink walls of her daughter Macy's room being torn down.
Here's the good news: They have a new house that Nathan worked hard on since the day of the storms, and Macy has a new bedroom.
“She loves her new house, too,” Nathan said.
It's been a long, hard year for the entire community of Piner.
"You wake up every morning and I would work here every night [until] it was dark out. Can't work when it's dark, so you gotta go home... we finally made it back." Nathan said.
They made it back, as a family, but the sad part for the Becrafts and the Coopers is that Janet, Nathan's grandmother who helped keep them safe, did not make it to this year anniversary. She died of cancer just a little over a week ago.
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