As eyes around the country were focused on Moore, Oklahoma May 20th of last year, Eyewitness News Reporter Lauren Seabrook was trying to get updates on her family. Two of her relatives lost homes in the EF5 tornado. She showed us her cousin Dean Codner's experience last May and went back this year to see his progress.
The feeling that comes with building a new house is not the same when you are only doing it because a tornado leveled the last one.
"Nothing prepares you for it, for the devastation you come up and see," Codner said. "A war zone."
The storm wiped Codner's house off it's foundation, with his family and five dogs huddled in a shelter below.
"That whole thing was just banging," Codner said, as he described being inside the shelter when the tornado moved overhead. "The whole inside was just rocking and shaking."
But for the last 12 months, he and his family have called a metal building "home." The Codner's tool shed now serves a dual purpose - sleeping and showering happen on wheels. Shirts hang from a rack near hammers on the wall.
"We put a range in here and that's the refrigerator that will go in the new house," he said. "Living in this travel trailer is kind of tough."
In their temporary life, dinner and a movie means food bank meals on a picnic table and peeking through the closet to see the television.
"When this is done, I'm not going camping for a while," he said.
Just like anywhere else, laundry still gets done and coffee is ready in the morning. Having something warm to drink has become a necessity.
"It's been a long year," Codner said. "A long winter. A cold winter."
Even with spray foam insulating the inner walls, temperatures got down to 40 degrees inside the shed over the winter. Codner said the chill did not compare to the pain of spending the holidays like this.
"You've got to still go through with a smile on your face and try to be upbeat and positive," he said. "It's kind of hard. You just have to know that God's got a different plan. Just got to have your faith."
Codner spends his days working as an artist, chipping away at the financial burden of losing everything. His nights and weekends are committed to building a new life.
"You better have a whole lot of faith because if you don't rely on it, it's not going to help you carry through," he said. "You're going to get so overwhelmed you just give up."
Family, friends, and fellow Oklahomans have helped too. Codner now knows surviving the storm continues long after the wind stops.
"You can let the anger and the bitterness eat you up, or you can move forward and go, I can survive this," he said. "I can be an overcomer."
His dogs are ready for a fenced in yard. They are currently kept in a chain link kennel on the property.
The Codners are ready for a more durable place to stay. The family plans to be in their new home, built on the same piece of land, by Fall.
"It's kind of scary because you know that you live in tornado alley, but it's home," he said.