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Tornado survivors doing better this Christmas

This second Christmas around, things are generally better for tornado survivors, according to the Long Term Recovery Committee.

"We haven't seen the same need this year as last year," volunteer coordinator Tanya Nelson said. "The sense of urgency this year is not the same as last year. Last year, there were still people struggling to get into their home at this time."

She said there weren't as many cases of holiday depression this time around, or as many particular holiday needs.

"This year people are definitely doing a little bit better emotionally [and] psychologically than they were doing last year," case manager Wendy Molstad said. "However, there are quite a few people that still have not finished their recovery - their structural recovery, not just their emotional recovery. And I think for a lot of people, until they get all the pieces put back together in their structure, their emotional health can't fully recover. And the emotional aspect is what really lingers on longer than most people realize."

She said that Christmas can be stressful, since money is tight as it is with purchasing presents and traveling.

"Going into the second year, there are a lot of people who are just done talking about it," Molstad said. "They don't want to hear about the tornado any more. And so people that are still recovering emotionally, are having a hard time because they can't just talk about it with anyone."

She said that with the weather staying nice enough this year to get outside and stay active, that has helped people emotionally.

Nelson said that clients are in their homes now, but there is a lot of finishing work to be done and they would love to have volunteers.

One volunteer project coming up soon is the cleanup of Tapley Park, led by Adam Leverson as his Eagle Scout project.

Cleanup is Thursday Dec. 29 and Friday Dec. 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers may meet at 9 a.m. at the park.

The Long Term Recovery Committee is assisting

Leverson with volunteers and organizing.