"It's good to be home." - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

"It's good to be home."


MERRILL (WAOW) -- It's been nearly ten months since a tornado blew through Merrill, destroying homes and damaging buildings in its path. On Saturday, workers and people in the community who helped out last April take a look back.

New sheeting, insulation and a brand-new roof. If you looked at the Northern Wire building today, you might never have guessed it was hit by a tornado just ten months ago.

"In some respects, it doesn't feel like it's been more than a week," said Northern Wire general manager Matt Beilke. "But in other respects it seems like it was forever."

It's a far cry from last April, when the EF3 tornado ripped sheet metal from the ceiling and flooded the building. Now, the main building has been completely redone and the front offices are new too.

"The silver lining on the gray cloud that hit us -- it gave us an opportunity to re-look at our operation, how could we improve it," said Beilke.

Contractors and Red Cross workers who helped out after the storm got to take a look around, giving them a chance to see the fruits of their labors from months ago.

"It still is kind of emotional for me to go back because I live in the area," said Red Cross regional director of development Wendy Savage. "I have visited with many of the people who were impacted and I think they're moving along, they're in that recovery process and they're making good strides."

Workers and their families could also take the tour. The tornado caused a lot of damage, but some said they're proud to see everyone moving forward.

"Through the whole community, there's been lots of really good change," said Savage. "People have been working on it through the whole year and there's really significant progress."

Northern Wire employees have been back in the grind for a while now, with three shifts of workers punching their timecards. With new renovations, Beilke said he's glad the company is still where it is today.

"We actually were in a remote facility across town, we rented some office space while the office was being reconstructed but it's good to be home," said Beilke.

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