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First responders honored one year after deadly tornado in Eastern Shore campground

Posted at 12:22 PM, Jul 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-29 22:30:06-04

Cape Charles, Va. - July 24th marked one year since an EF-1 tornado touched down in Cherrystone Family Camping Resort in Cape Charles.

The tornado took the lives of three people when a tree fell across the tents they were camping in. Dozens of others were injured.

A memorial service was held on Friday, July 24th to mark the one year anniversary of the tornado. The service was held at Campsite 117 -- the spot where a tree fell on a family's tent and took three people's lives. That spot now serves as a memorial garden.

"Sadness... but, and this is going to sound bad for today, but, it was joy to see that we don't have to be in fear. A year ago today the weather was destructive but look at today... How can you not say that today isn't a beautiful, good day," said longtime Cherrystone camper Denise McGhee.

Since the tornado, emergency managers and first responders have gathered to discuss the response to the tornado and what can be done to make sure people are better prepared for disasters like this one in the future.

First responders from more than 35 agencies responded to Cherrystone in the wake of the destruction, storming to danger while others ran in the opposite direction.

On Wednesday, those responders were recognized by Virginia officials through a resolution passed by the General Assembly.

"We are here today to recognize what happened in the aftermath of that tragedy -- the heroes and heroines who stormed into harm's way themselves in order to take care of the rest of us," said Senator Lynwood Lewis.

"We don`t feel like heroes. None of us ever do, but it's just what we do," said first responder TJ Rippon.

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