VILONIA, Ark. (KTHV) - One year ago on Wednesday, a deadly tornado ripped through Faulkner County, hitting the town of Vilonia especially hard.
If you ask those working closely on the recovery efforts, they will tell you about 95 percent of the storm victims have their homes and lives back on track now.
But there's still that five percent who don't. And leaders with the Vilonia Disaster Recovery Alliance want to make sure that one year later, those folks and their struggles aren't forgotten.
There's nothing like a finding a turtle to captivate kids on a sunny play day. But there was something even more captivating in this Vilonia neighborhood, one year ago.
"Kids and I kind of talked about it little bit today and they remember it very well, so it's still pretty fresh on our mind," Brian Wagner said.
Brian Wagner says a year later that life's back to normal for his family.
"We wound up having to have a new roof put on and new garage door," Wagner said.
And driving around his subdivision, it appears neighbors doing OK too. But in another hard hit area near Vilonia, we found large tree debris in yards and signs of home where they shouldn't be.
"It's been heart-wrenching, I want to go out and help each one of them rebuild," Sandy Towles said.
Sandy Towles is the Case Manager for the Vilonia Disaster Recovery Alliance. We met her and Board Chairwoman Mesha Duncan at their office Wednesday.
"We have open cases that we're working right now and actually had a couple of new cases brought to us recently, so there are still people out there," Duncan said.
Duncan says the tough economy made it hard for some to recover.
"What they had didn't go as far as what they were hoping, and they still needed that extra little push to get back," Duncan said.
It's an extra push the alliance can't ignore, but it needs community help.
"I don't think the neighbor-helping-neighbor attitude has quit, I just think people have gone on with their lives and we still have that five percent that need the help," Towles said.
The recovery alliance formed about a month after the tornado, basically as another layer of help beyond FEMA and insurance. They received monetary donations to assist families. And to help the remaining victims, they're working on a volunteer spring clean-up day ahead.
If you'd like to help out, call the Vilonia Disaster Recovery Alliance at 501-796-2708 or email at email@example.com
As for the alliance's work over the past year, they've done everything from helping victims repair roofs to putting in new carpeting inside. The alliance also gave out referrals when the work was out of their scope.
The American Red Cross is also hosting a telethon at the Vilonia Senior Center on Thursday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Towles tells us that it's to help build their monetary supplies to continue helping tornado victims in the area.