Laura and Paul Teverow

Laura and Paul Teverow had lived in their nearly 90-year-old home for 25 years before the tornado smashed it into a heap of debris.

“This sounds weird when I say it,” an ebullient Laura Teverow, 60, said recently, standing in her new larger yard next to her new house. “For us, in a weird way, it’s been a blessing.”

The Teverows rebuilt at 2501 S. Wall Ave., a somewhat bigger version of their old farm-style clapboard home with a singular added amenity. Built into the living room, and looking like a closet, is a steel tornado shelter bolted to the home’s concrete foundation and fitted with a steel door that reads “Family Safe.”

“I can sit in it and watch cable TV!” Teverow said. The unit has a bench. The TV sits across the living room.

He said his next-door neighbor was one of many on the block who chose not to stay. Houses gone, numerous neighbors cashed their insurance checks, paid off their mortgages and left. Several Habitat for Humanity homes replaced houses that were destroyed.

The Teverows bought an adjoining lot so Laura Teverow could expand her garden.

The lack of trees is startling, she said. “There used to be so many of them.”

Without shade, her hostas fried. She now works a sun garden.

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