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Leachville mourns store manager who died during tornadoes

"My heart just breaks for her family because she was a part of our daily life, because that's the only store we had in this town," said one resident.

LEACHVILLE, Ark — One week after a deadly tornado tore through parts of Arkansas, the community of Leachville is still working to pick up the pieces.

"Our little town is just gone, but it can be rebuilt, but the life we lost in Dollar General can not," said Sue Scott who knew June Pennington, who died last Friday.

Officials say Pennington was trapped working at the Leachville Dollar General when the storm hit.

Neighbors of the tight knit community now grieve the loss.

"My heart just breaks for her family because she was a part of our daily life, because that's the only store we had in this town," said Scott. 

Another employee was with Pennington when the storm hit. 

The teen wouldn't talk to THV11 on camera, but says she shielded him with her body while the two huddled inside a bathroom in the back of the store.

Debris from the store is still spread out on the ground behind a fence now.

"Just look around, you know. We're still picking up. Rebuilding. But Ms. Pennington's never coming back," said Scott.

The journey to recovery is continuing long after the storm has passed. Many neighbors finding other housing options. 

"We've been in a hotel all week long. At the Holiday Inn in Jonesboro," said Melroy Johnson.

He's traveling back and forth to his family's damaged home to pick up their belongings.

"Just been working, you know. Just trying to salvage what I can. Store stuff in my storage. Talk to the insurance companies." 

Even through the debris, the family is focusing on appreciating what they still have — each other.

"We got through the storm. We got through the worst part. Just rebuilding and just moving on with our lives," said Johnson.

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