Destroyed in Choctaw tornado, Love's reopens 4 years later
People in Choctaw remember every detail of a tornado in 2010 that hit during rush hour. Two people died and almost 50 others were injured.View the National Weather Service table for the May 10 tornado outbreak hereDozens of people hid from the twister in the Love's off I-40."We drove this way to run because we don't have a tornado shelter and realized you couldn't get on the highway you couldn't get past anything. We pulled into the store after the store got hit and helped people out of the store," said Jay Bednarek.The store was destroyed, but after four years it's finally back open. And Bednarek returned on opening day."I just wanted to stop in and see what was going on," he said.Other customers like Donna Todd walked through the doors after noticing their old stop had reopened."It was my favorite spot to stop," she said.A happy ending for the Love's in Choctaw after a terrible setback."It was heartbreaking," recalled Love's employee Regina Smith.On May 10th, 2010 around 65 people took refuge inside the store when the EF-4 tornado tore through."We were just wanting to keep everyone safe," said Love's GM Walter Waltz.Somehow everyone escaped with just cuts and bruises. And now the new store covers 10 acres."It's much bigger and better," Waltz said.The store employs 50 people and customers will see a lot of new faces. But some they might remember"When I first came to work for Love's this is where I started," Smith said.For Regina Smith it's a homecoming. "For me personally this is my home store. It's a lot of sentimental," she trails off "yeah it's pretty awesome."She commuted to a different store over the past four years and says it's good to be back. Her customers agree."I missed the people I used to talk to in the store," said Todd.The grand opening helped bring a little life to an empty lot, filling it with pumps, walls and smiles.The new store is almost four times bigger than the old one. It is directly across the street from the old site.
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