The anniversary of a tornado outbreak is usually something that is remembered rather than celebrated. But in Cleburne, the community gathered Saturday afternoon to embrace the silver lining that came after the dark clouds passed on May 15, 2013.
“The tornadoes destroyed our property, but it did not destroy our spirit,” said Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain. "Our folks came out of their houses... they looked to left and the right... they hugged each other’s necks... surveyed the damage... and then they got right to work."
There was a lot of work to do. The tornadoes that rambled through Johnson County one year ago damaged or destroyed more than 1,500 homes.
“If you weren’t directly affected, you know someone who was affected,” said Johnson County Emergency Management Coordinator Jamie Moore.
He remembered how people in Johnson County united as one against three.
"We had tornadoes in three different jurisdictions, but there were no jurisdictional boundaries. We had first responders, volunteers, and people all over the Metroplex," Moore said. "They all came down and chipped in. There was no 'Cleburne' or 'Burleson' ... there was Johnson County and a community responding, and that’s the thing that sticks out the most, and that’s what we’re trying to capture at this event again today — everybody just coming together.”
A year later, the damage isn’t all repaired yet.
“Events like this are part of our healing process," Moore said. "Like never before, residents in Johnson County have been brought together by the same force of nature that tore so much apart."