Tornado victims spend Thanksgiving cleaning up neighborhood - WNCT

Tornado victims spend Thanksgiving cleaning up their neighborhood

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MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. -

In Carteret County, the clean-up continues following a devastating tornado that struck two towns in one night.

While the power is restored, streets are mostly cleared, and roofs are patched up, the recovery effort is far from over.

The twister has blown some people's Thanksgiving plans out the window.

"For the past two days we've been cleaning up the yard. These trees are 50 years old, 50 feet high and as you can tell they just snapped," said Janet Perryman, a resident of Country Club East, one of the hardest hit neighborhoods.

Perryman was planning to visit her friends and sister in Raleigh, until an EF 2 tornado tore a path through Atlantic Beach and Morehead City. Picking up tree limbs in the backyard isn't exactly how she envisioned spending her Thanksgiving.

"To me it looks like King Kong was playing pick-up sticks and lost," she said of her backyard.

Next door, a tree crushed her neighbor's house. Perryman's roof is damaged too. She says she lost about 40 trees.

While some spent the day cleaning, others down the block did not let the twister ruin their holiday.

Vince Santoro spent his Thanksgiving with neighbors across the street.

"We um, decided to go to the store, get some food. They're doing the same thing," said Santoro.

Santoro was planning to visit family in New Jersey, but changed his plans after the twister put a tree through his living room and crushed his son's car.

"It happens, you know? It happens," he said.

Despite all the damage, those affected by the tornado say they have much to be thankful for, like all friends and strangers who offered food and shelter, and helped clean the neighborhood.

"I can't think you guys enough for everything you've done for me and my family," said Santoro.

Even the littlest gestures of kindness mean so much.

"Last night at about 8 o'clock, the doorbell rang. I opened the door and it was two families, and they had a plate of cookies. And they delivered cookies to all of our neighbors," said Perryman, with tears in her eyes.

But what these people are more grateful for than anything: each other, and the fact that everyone survived.

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