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The storm that hit Springfield and Brimfield, Mass. on June 1, 2011, left a trail of devastation.
One of the places heavily damaged was the Village Green Family Campground, where one person was killed, and 95 of the 97 trailers on the property were destroyed. Now, new trailers line the plots where piles of debris once stood.
It’s not only the trailers – there’s a brand new pavilion close to being done.
But in front, twisted metal and debris from inside the old pavilion that was destroyed, all waiting on insurance claims.
So the family behind the campground is rebuilding, but there’s still a lot to be done.
“There’s nothing here that’s not fixable, given time and enough money, we definitely can. These people love this place,” said Village Green Family Campground owner Les Twarowski.
It’s impossible not to look back and looking out over the campground in Brimfield, Mass., brings you there.
This was one year ago – the tornado tossed trailers and flung toys relentlessly across the landscape.
One woman was killed when she remained in her trailer, while several other people were injured.
For campground owners Les and Meg Twarowski and their daughter Katie, it’s also impossible not to look forward.
“Tornadoes are a blessing in disguise, if you can understand that. Because before a tornado, you live in a neighborhood, you don’t know anybody. You go through a traumatic experience together, and then all of a sudden, everybody just gets a little closer,” Les Twarowski said.
“We’re Village Brown right now so we’re going to get back to Village Green. But this is my future, I’ll see these trees grow and they’ll be back to where they were before,” manager Katie Twarowski said.
The repairs included 50 new trees, a new bathroom, a new pavilion for weddings and all new electrical work put underground.
They re-opened less than a year later on May 1.
The 25% that’s been fixed up is in the front and by the road, but along an orange fence and behind yellow tape, there’s a ways to go.
Like a trailer split in half by a 100-foot-tall oak.
In addition to the tranquility, Village Green’s owners say it’s always been about the people – now, more so than ever.
“With the help of family and friends and strangers, which are now friends,” Les Twarowski said.
Thirty of 97 seasonal campers have returned to start anew – all people the Twarowskis know well.
It’s been tough financially, and they also know the view from a year ago is simply not the same.
“We’re getting there but we’ve got a little bit more to go,” owner Meg Twarowski said.
We asked what people say to her on the phone when they call for reservations.
“Ohhh,” she said. “Or I saw that on your website and I still want to come,”
What’s also still standing – a curved, bent flag pole at the front of the campground – is where the town of Brimfield will gather to remember, when the tornado passed through one year before, at 5 p.m. Friday night.