Towns recovering nearly one year after Dec. 10 tornado

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 9:40 PM CST
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ARKANSAS - (KAIT) - A town that has experienced so much heartbreak is recovering.

For Destiny Lambert seeing the damage, the tornado did firsthand to Monette. She worked at the Monette Manor for years and formed relationships with the residents. 94-year-old Korean War veteran Golden Hembrey was killed as the tornado tore the nursing home apart.

“The residents the staff members, and everyone that was working there, and the workers that came in help, my heart hurt for them.”, said Lambert.

Lambert grew to know the American hero. During the conversation, she added that Hembrey was a car enthusiast.

“And when I heard about the man that did pass away, I was absolutely broken because I took care of that man for two years.”, said Lambert.

Where the rubble of the Monette Manor once was, is now a new foundation and walls. This progress makes many around Monette excited for the small town’s future.

“I have had a lot of people that work there, and family members that live there; it was a real traumatizing and traumatic experience,” said Kalleigh, who works across the street at the Jordan’s.

Kalleigh was working the night the tornado struck the town. She remembers her fear for herself and Monette Manor residents.

Lambert was a nurse at Monette Manor, and as she watched the progress, she debated going back to doing what she loved.

“The residents that are here and want to stay here, are going to be happy to be back because they get pushed to different homes. Some of them do not like where they are and wan to be back in their hometown.”, said Lambert.

Right down the road from Monette is Leachville. A small farming community with only one grocery store in town. The tornado ripped through, destroying the Dollar General and killing Assistant Manager June Pennington.

Since Dec. 10, residents of Leachville have been traveling to Monette and Jonesboro to get their groceries and everyday needs. “It has been a very bad impact because people had to go to other towns and get stuff, it is going to be an asset, to Leachville to have this open.”, said Mayor Rodney Robertson.

Robertson added that more trucks are headed to the store, and the store is expected to be fully stocked by the end of the week. He hopes that a grand opening could come as soon as next week.