But, on April 27, Precious Crowe and her children Mazzy and Christian Raper will return. Today they will begin to rebuild their lives in their new home as they move in.
They are survivors, not only of the storm which took virtually everything they had, but the adversity of their lives leading up to the April 27 storms and the days following them into recovery.
“The night it happened I was watching the weather on television and a small portion of Tennessee was lit up in red. I closed my eyes to make sure what I was seeing was right. I opened my eyes to see that the screen had already changed. I pushed the nurse call light button,” said Precious six months ago.
She was in an Atlanta hospital suffering from pneumonia, one of the complications of her condition. She had been admitted about three weeks prior and was weakened by the sickness. Her children were in Tennessee and she had questions regarding their safety.
A long night lay ahead.
At about 6 a.m on April 28, a phone call gave her the answers.
Timothy Raper, Precious’ ex-husband, told her house had been destroyed.
She said it was hard to comprehend and she was left in “utter disbelief.”
“A sob rose from my throat,” she said. “I hung up the phone and cried with determination. I knew what I had to do — I had to get back home to my children. I had to see what there was left to salvage,” she said six months ago. An EF-4 tornado had destroyed or damaged virtually every home in the Willbrook community, which is located just off Highway 64.
Problems persisted in the days which lay ahead, according to Crowe.
Finally, co-worker and friend Tammy Cross suggested a builder.
KACE Construction’s Charlotte Peak-Jones and her husband, Keith, and their crew were chosen to rebuild their home.
KACE has been an instrumental element in several of the tornado rebuilds or repairs, both through the Long-Term Recovery Organization or privately.
“I helped Precious deal with her insurance to make sure she received the maximum benefits and we broke ground,” said Charlotte.
The house which was destroyed had been the family home for approximately 14 years.
“I think moving in today is a gesture that we didn’t give up and we are going to remember this as a good luck sign for the future,” Crowe said.
Crowe said it was the house where she first experienced her children’s smiles and one she had poured “every ounce of love she had into.”
“We are still healing. Every day, we have been walking through the neighborhood and trying to acclimate ourselves. Our house is different, but our home is the same,” Crowe said.