Monson rebuilds, scars remain from 2011 tornado - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

4 Years Later

Monson rebuilds, scars remain from 2011 tornado

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The tornado four years ago left its ugly mark across much of Western Massachusetts. Some communities were untouched, but others like Monson did not escape the wrath of Mother Nature.

The town of Monson took a direct hit from the tornado. The twister ripped through this community, causing widespread damage, including right in the downtown area.

Four years ago, much of Monson looked like a war zone. The tornado left a path of devastation.

The steeple of the First Church of Monson was knocked over. The town hall and police station were severely damaged and eventually rebuilt.

George Saunders of Monson will never forget what the tornado did to the downtown area.

"The devastation that occurred through downtown here was really the biggest part I remember. It took our downtown and made it unrecognizable," said Saunders.

Mary Murray won't forget the sound. "We were standing on our porch, at our home, and heard a noise like a train. It was a horrible noise," she said.

Homes all over destroyed and damaged. Danielle Koziol's home was one of those in the path.

"I could hear the wind and I knew it was something very, very powerful. I knew it was a tornado, but had no idea if my house would stay what kind of damage there would be," said Koziol.

Koziol has written a book about her experience in that tornado. It's called 'The Chosen Path.'

"I would say it was probably the most terrifying 30 seconds of my life. I was told it was 30 seconds. It felt longer," Koziol added.

The tornado also brought out the best in people - people like Beverly Lemon.

"I walked through town that day and anybody who needed a hug, I asked them 'Do you need a hug?' and I gave them a hug." said Lemon.

Lemon is just one of the many good Samaritan stories.

"I saw people come together who never came together before. I saw people help people in every way they could," Lemon added.

Four years after that devastating tornado, the town of Monson has rebuilt, the community moves on, but the memories and scars from that horrifying day still remain here with its residents.

Copyright 2015 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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