One month later, Mayor Vaughan talks Greensboro tornado recovery

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- For the past month, Mayor Nancy Vaughan has been going through neighborhoods like the one on Apache Street, seeing the splintered wood frames that used to be homes or trees scattered across east Greensboro.

"I can't believe that's Greensboro," Vaughan said, looking out at it all.

She walked this street the first couple days after the tornado touched down. One month later, the destruction is almost unchanged, other than some debris that has been hauled off.

"I was surprised the day that I came out here because the mailbox was perfect, and the azaleas behind it were in bloom, and it was actually a pretty kind of picture," Vaughan said. "And then all of the sudden you saw the house behind it was absolutely reduced to nothing."

In the days since the tornado, she's been going through the path of the storm, listening to stories like Jermelle Barhardt's.

"I seen it lift the fence up," Barhardt said. He was home at the time and had to take shelter at a neighbor's place when the tornado hit.

Vaughan says one of the unique challenges is helping people with unique situations, especially with insurance, and connecting them to the right resources.

"It's gonna take us a while to figure out where the gaps are and where we can be of assistance," Vaughan said. "This is the long haul. This is where we're really gonna ask people to be patient."

Something that stood out to her is the resilience of neighbors willing to help.

"I was out here early Monday morning, but the neighborhood was out here even earlier Monday morning," she said.

Vaughan says the rebuild will take time, probably years, but wants to build these neighborhoods back better than where they were before the storm. She also knows family's are still feeling the pain of losing so much, in some cases, everything.

"You know they're missing pictures," Vaughan said. "They're missing those heirlooms, they're missing those things that make a house a home and things like that you can't replace. A year from now I would like to see the tarps gone. I hope to see the houses that can be repaired, that they are repaired. This is gonna be a long, hot summer, and we need to make sure our focus is on these neighborhoods."

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