LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – The tornado devastated areas of Lufkin reaching winds of about 140 miles per hour and Monday many families came together to try and recover what is salvageable and rebuild what is not. However, sifting through the remains of their property only reminded residents of what they survived.
Luis Estrada is spending his Christmas vacation living through a tornado and helping his dad clean up the mess.
"I was going to sleep and then all of the sudden the lights were turned out and then the house just started shaking and two of the mirrors broke," said Estrada.
A shed used to sit in his yard, and now it's just one of the many things that has vanished.
"My trampoline, it was right there, right beside our pool and then it just disappeared," pointed out Estrada.
His neighbor, Javier Ortega, is attempting to clean up what the tornado did leave behind.
"When I stepped out, all I saw was the car had a tree on the back of it," said Ortega.
His totaled car is parked next to a house with water damage, uprooted trees, and a roof in need of repairs.
"Me and my wife and my daughter, we went straight to the restroom and then to the bathtub and tried to cover for safety," said Ortega.
It's a night he will remember to tell his unborn son about.
"My wife is pregnant and she's due in March," said Ortega. "It'll be a story for my son to hear. A couple months before he was born, to hear that we had a tornado hit us."
Peggy Henry was driving to Houston for the holidays, near Ortega's house when the tornado touched down.
"On our way back to Magnolia we decided to stop and take pictures to see what we drove through to see what we were fortunate enough to make it through," said Henry.
Monday she took pictures of the debris so her granddaughter would not forget that she had been spared.
"[We] documented it for her, to see what we went through," said Henry. "She kept saying that God was watching over us and you know that's more proof to her right there that God really was watching over us that night."
Even though Estrada and Ortega are dealing with the pain of clean-up, they are survivors.
Ortega said it doesn't matter if it takes weeks or months, he's confident they will get everything back in order.