MARYSVILLE — For such a small place, Marysville has a big reputation. In the days after March 2, 2012, news media across the globe reported that the rural town was “completely gone” following a series of tornadoes that tore through its center.
Although numerous homes were destroyed and many lives were uprooted, not even the 170 mph winds from the deadly EF-4 tornado could extinguish the Marysville community. And while debris remains on some of the fields and crumbling houses still sit vacant, the unincorporated town continues to push forward in its recovery effort as residents learn to adapt to a new kind of normal.
On an early February morning, builder Daniel Gerard and his workers braved the cold and snow to build the frame of the Marysville Christian Church. Originally constructed in 1891, the house of worship was wrecked by the March 2 tornadoes. A ribbon-cutting ceremony in November kicked off the reconstruction.
“We’re hoping to have them in by the first part of May. We were hoping to be a lot further along than this, but we were held up in November on account of the concrete,” Gerard said.
Other homes remain damaged and empty along the country roads. Carolyn King, executive director for the organization March2Recovery, said Marysville faced a different situation than other local towns. The nonprofit offers assistance to only those who have been turned down by all other aid programs. Likewise, those affected by the disaster must own their own homes to qualify.
“The problem with Marysville is that many of those are rental properties. We only help homeowners,” King said. “And people that owned them either didn’t have enough insurance or are not rebuilding. So they’re not people we can help. That’s a part of the tragedy in Marysville.”
About a quarter of a mile away from where hammers pound together a new church, not much has changed for Marysville resident Lisa Clapp since the tornadoes, at least not as far as rebuilding is concerned.