Lone Grove rebuilds after deadly storm

JAMES S. TYREE Published: September 6, 2009
Th
e Feb. 10 tornado killed four people at the Bar K Mobile Home Park and wiped out all but four of its 41 mobile homes.

‘Bad remembrances’
The Bar K, last seen strewn with debris, no longer exists. In its place is the Lone Grove Mobile Home Community.

Fourteen new mobile homes have been brought in for purchase, said John Bowman, the park’s manager. Residents are shedding the old park’s poor image that included drug use, he said.

"We’ve ended up with a lot more families and we’re really strict about who comes in here,” he said.

The Ayres family moved into one of the park’s new homes in May after Crystal Ayres spent three months at a Dallas hospital.

She remains in a wheelchair; her back was broken in six places by the tornado. She has regained limited movement in her legs and is determined to walk again.

"It is still kind of weird; it’s our new house and I couldn’t put everything away,” she said. "So I’m having to make adjustments, but compared to where I was it’s a lot better.”

Richard and Crystal Ayres and their kids Richard Jr. and Sam — short for Samantha — huddled together in their mobile home when the storm approached. Richard Ayres said the tornado lifted their trailer, moved it 150 feet and tossed it upside down.

"We’ve had a lot of people help us; we didn’t do it by ourselves,” Richard Ayres said. "Almost everything in this house has been given to us after we lost just about everything.”

Business picking up
Lone Grove Feed and Supply, 15538 U.S. 70, opened last month under new ownership after the site was decimated by the tornado.

Manager Melba Lee, who moved from Duncan to operate the store, said the community has "welcomed us with open arms” and that other businesses are popping in Lone Grove.

"Since the beginning of August, we have been very busy,” she said

Lee said the previous owner wanted to leave the business and start a new chapter, and the tornado wound up providing that opportunity while giving the store’s new owner and employees a fresh start in Lone Grove.

Starting over is a recurring theme in Lone Grove after the tornado, from the former Bar K Mobile Home Park to City Hall to the many families who are rebuilding their lives along with their homes.

Among them are the Mashores. Their new house will have wider doors, hallways and other amenities to accommodate Cherrille Mashore’s wheelchair.

"She’s anxious to go home,” Bob Mashore said, "and so am I.”


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