FORNEY (CBSDFW.COM) – There’s no place like home for the holidays, claims the popular song.

In Forney’s Diamond Creek neighborhood, though, families are still trickling back, eight months after a tornado struck.

Some homes, being rebuilt from scratch, remain under construction. Others have disappeared entirely, leaving just a slab or empty lot behind. Several appear virtually untouched since the tornado, with broken windows and gaping holes.

“It was surreal. It was a warzone,” said Ronnie Smith.

The father of two remembers running past collapsed houses, searching for his own. “You know that feeling where you just kind of lose your breath and you can’t get your breath back again?” he said.

His house escaped the worst of the storm, but still required repairs, that forced the family to stay with relatives for three months.

It’s only now they’re starting to feel settled again. “My wife told me yesterday that our house is just now becoming a home again,” he said.

Monica McCrea said, her family couldn’t wait to come back, and returned home on Labor Day. “Being in your own home is a wonderful thing,” she said.

The neighborhood is lot quieter now, and there aren’t as many Christmas decorations this year.
Those who’ve returned, though, say neighbors feel closer than ever.