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SANFORD, NC (AP)– Lowe’s Home Improvement officials say the Sanford store that was decimated by a tornado will be rebuilt by the end of the year. Lowe’s spokeswoman Julie Yenichek said work will begin soon to demolish the condemned remains of the tornado-battered building constructed in 1998.

The store’s 160 employees who were praised for ushering customers to safety during the storm have all been given new jobs at nearby Lowe’s stores, and the company has donated $250,000 to the American Red Cross in their honor.

Yenichek said Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports, the NASCAR team and driver sponsored by Lowe’s, will together donate $1,000 to each of the 70 customers and workers whose cars were in the Lowe’s parking lot and suffered damage from the storm.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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