SPRINGFIELD (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) Western Massachusetts residents are still left with the rubble one year after devastating tornadoes tore through the area. For one Springfield family, the anniversary of the storms marks a new beginning.
Jane and Bobby Donovan moved into their new home one year to the day since they lost their old one in the worst tornadoes to strike Springfield in more than six decades.
Bobby, who has multiple sclerosis, was home when the twister tore through on June 1, 2011. He tried to make it down to the basement before danger struck, but the tornado slammed his Plymouth Street home before he even made it past the first step.
"I didn't know if he was alive or not and with the M.S., he crawled to the top of the stairs and he was alive," says Jane.
Bobby says the cellar windows blew out and he felt like he was in a dust storm because of all the debris coming up the stairs.
The Donovans joined the 1,400 other families whose homes were destroyed. Three other people lost their lives.
Their home was uninhabitable, but the couple was determined to rebuild on the land Bobby had lived on since he was a toddler. Thanks to insurance money, they were even able to build a home more suitable to Bobby's needs.
Hopefully more families will be able to do the same with $4 million in recovery aid headed to the western part of the state. Gov. Patrick announced the funding on Friday. It will help with debris removal, fund local fire departments, and restore trees in the hardest hit areas.