Some Gloucester homeowners just starting to rebuild 18 months after tornado

Posted at 7:58 PM, Oct 01, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-01 19:58:39-04

A home that once sat along Hickory Fork Road in Gloucester Co. was reduced to a pile of debris Monday morning, and for the homeowner, that is finally a sign of progress.

It's taken 18 months to get to this point.

The home was severely damaged by a tornado in April of 2011.  For Cindy Lemke, it’s been an uphill battle with the insurance company ever since.

She should be able to move in about two or three months from now, but it won't be quite the homecoming she had once hoped for.

Her husband, Bill Lemke lost his battle to brain cancer in February - his wish to move back home, never granted.

As Cindy Lemke told NewsChannel 3, “the tornado saga continues in Gloucester County.”

Lisa Van Dyke and Roger Hogge know that all too well.

“It's like the tornado is still spinning us,” said Van Dyke.

A few months after their home was destroyed, they got some money from their insurance company and were able to start rebuilding, but problems with their builder ended up costing them $20,000 in legal costs, and without a home.

They're still living in a camper on the property.

“We like camping but not as a lifestyle,” Van Dyke said, laughing.

They are finally able to move forward again, though.

“It's basically the goodness of people's hearts; it does still exist,” Van Dyke said.

Work started back up about three weeks ago thanks to friends and businesses in the community who are taking action to help them out, donating time and in some cases, supplies.

“What they're doing is making up what we had to spend in legal fees because we had down to the penny to finish,” Van Dyke said.

Johnny Newell with Commonwealth Exterminating, Tommy Garner Air Conditioning and Heating, Eastwood Builders, and a friend who wanted to remain anonymous are all helping them out in various ways.

Van Dyke and Hogge are looking forward to hopefully moving in by Christmas.

“In our case, it's going to be a happy ending because of our friends and the donations that are being made.  If it wasn't for that, I don't know what we would do,” said Van Dyke.