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Oklahomans Rebuild What Moore Tornado Destroyed 1 Year Ago

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jason Allen
Jason came to North Texas after working as a reporter for four y...
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MOORE, Okla. (CBSDFW.COM) – The homes are rebuilt and schools are almost finished. Tuesday residents in Moore, Oklahoma started construction on a new hospital. The groundbreaking happened one year to the day after a tornado destroyed it all.

The soon-to-be hospital is a great example of how far the city has come.

Last year at this time a CBS 11 News crew stood in front of piles of cars and debris a couple stories high. Thankfully, all that is gone.

Now people are waiting for something new. For the last year residents have been in and out of a portable hospital, something to keep the city going for residents who don’t want to go anywhere else.

It took an EF-5 tornado less than 40 minutes to tear the city apart. One year later, the people are putting it back together.

It’s definitely a case of bigger and better. The roofs are more protective, doors more secure, and overall the City of Moore is stronger.

Photographer Scotty McCullough said, “The turnaround this time has just been phenomenal. The outreach of help, probably from nationwide, has just helped everyone.”

McCullough helped pulled people from destroyed homes last year. Today he joined hundreds of other marking the event that again tested the city.

Speaking at the commemoration event Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said, “It was neighbor helping neighbor, doing what it takes to get the job done, not waiting on someone to come here to help us, but pulling ourselves up by the boot straps and just getting to work.”

The school where children died, Plaza Towers Elementary, will reopen next semester.

Of the 1000+ homes destroyed, more than half are being rebuilt.

But still there are signs of what was lost — like the picture on the corner of Terri Long. Long, a 49-year-old Federal Aviation Administration employee, died looking for shelter in a convenience store.

Tuesday, there was also the picture in the arms of Jeremy Soulek. His sister Shannon died while sheltering her sons.

Firefighters rang a bell for each of the storm victims – they are the only parts of Moore that no one will be able to rebuild, or replace.

The new hospital is expected to be finished in 2016.

More than a billion dollars has already been paid out for property losses from the deadly 2013 storm.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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