Poteau Couple Celebrates New Home Following Destructive Tornado

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POTEAU (KFSM) -- Jim and Gloria Gardner had all their boxes unpacked and everything it its place as they celebrated their new home with a neighborhood party Saturday (June 11).

More than a year ago, a tornado destroyed their house.

"Next thing we knew, we heard this crash, bang, pow and about two minutes, if that long, we looked out and you could see nothing but solid trees," Brenda Rowton, the Gardners' neighbor, said.

Jim Gardner said those neighbors have been a great support system through the insurance claims and construction.

"We had good friends that came to our aid to help us," he said. "It is just good to have neighbors that are caring people. So, that is the real purpose for today; thanking them and hopefully kind of building more on our relationship with them for the future."

And while life may have thrown a storm their way, the Gardeners said they are blessed.

"Tragedies hit, life happens, and things are going to happen," Jim Gardner said. "You have to be prepared to deal with that somehow. I do not know how people do it without faith. But, you know, when you have faith, it enables you to go through things like this and realize there is a purpose."

The neighborhood is happy to have them back, too.

"I have got neighbors now," Rowton said, "I can call on them if I need anything! Welcome back!"

The Gardners said they hope to organize a party with their neighbors each year.