RIEGELWOOD -- Sunday the community of Riegelwood paid their respects to the victims of last year's deadly tornado. Residents came together with a special church service for the people who lost family members on November 16, 2006. Tornado victim Nerida Martinez said, "It's still a hard situation for us to deal with, but we're just trying to be strong with god's strength, be strong and keep up." The place Martinez and her family find strength is in church, the only place they can find solace from losing three family members in last year's devastating tornado. Christ the King Catholic Church held a special anniversary mass to honor and remember those victims. In the aftermath of the tornado Bishop Michael Burbidge says the community looked to the church for support and guidance. Burbidge said, "It was extremely devastating and sad to see, but in the midst of all that tragedy there was beauty, that we were walking hand by hand as brothers and sisters praying together, as a powerful reminder in that in midst of all this we are not alone." The tornado victims from Martinez's family were a part of the Latino community, much of whom were affected by the tornado. To honor them the ceremony was done Spanish. Burbidge believes the mass is one way the community of Riegelwood can find healing. He said, "The celebration of the mass, is the greatest spiritual comfort you can give to the people, because it's at that alter that we celebrate the truth of the lord's promise, that death is not an end, it's a change in the way we live." The lives of Martinez's family have changed, and for now they will continue to look for support to move forward. "Right here is where we get peace and feel better about things that go on," she said. Bishop Burbidge also held a prayer service Sunday afternoon at the site where the tornado touched down to acknowledge all eight victims who died.
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