WYNNE, Ark. — Students went back to school, fallen trees have been removed, and debris is being swept up as Wynne, Arkansas works to rebuild after deadly tornadoes ripped through the area almost two weeks ago.

Home is where the heart is and Mary McCullough’s heart has been in Wynne, Arkansas for more than six decades. 

“I was born and raised here. I was born in Wynne Hospital. Dr. Crain delivered me and I’ve been here since I was two years old,” McCullough said.

The home she grew up in with her parents is the house she’ll grow old in with her husband Al even if that means it takes weeks or even months to rebuild it. 

“The roof, water damage, all the windows blown out, inside glass and everything. It actually picked up our freezer and threw it,” McCullough said.

The McCullough’s home was one of many damaged in the deadly tornadoes. They said in all the years they lived here, they have never experienced anything like this. 

“I think in my mind I was like, “Ah, this is not going to happen. This is no big deal.” You start thinking and assuming it’s just going to be a rough thunderstorm. But when the windows start blowing out, and then you start seeing gaps in the ceiling and the house shaking and the shaking like the Twister movie, then you really get the idea that this is serious,” McCullough said.

Many people left the neighborhood after that and their homes were damaged beyond repair. Others like the McCullough’s stayed because they say this isn’t a community you can just leave behind. 

“It’s a tight community. We have great neighbors that we’ve known since I was little. All these people back on this back row, a lot of them I went to high school, graduated with, and they’ve been a good support system. Our church, Wynne Baptist, anything we ask about or call about that we might need, they’ve been right on it,” McCullough said.

They are building a new normal in a place with a lifetime of memories. It’s home and the bond here is as strong as an Arkansas oak, so it’s going to take more than a tornado to run Mary off.

If you’d like to help families like the McCulloughs rebuild their towns, you can scan the QR code or text STORM to 51555 to make a donation. You can choose if you want your donation to go to Tennessee, Arkansas, or Mississippi and it will stay there.