Greensburg rebuilds 4 years after tragic tornado

GREENSBURG, Kan. - "Oh my God I can't believe it," said Jill Eller.

The house where Eller raised her family disappeared in the blink of an eye four years ago, when an EF-5 tornado chainsawed through Greensburg, Kansas, reports CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers.

Reporting from a town destroyed

Like almost all of her neighbors, at first, Jill couldn't imagine life there after the storm.

"Just total devastation," said Eller. "I mean it was some kind of shock that your body goes into."

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But when it would have been easier to walk away, from a town where 95 percent of the buildings were gone, Eller and her neighbors decided to rebuild.

It seemed impossible.

"I think we learned to say early on that we're not victims," said Mary Sweet, of Kiowa County Memorial Hospital. "We are survivors."

Pictures: Joplin tornado aftermath
Pictures: CBS News in Joplin
Pictures: Joplin twister decimation from the ground

After four years and $78 million in disaster relief grants, Greensburg is coming.

The new school opened last fall. The new hospital this March. There's a new city hall, arts center, and a whole new downtown business district -- all built to be energy efficient and tornado resistant -- turning Greensburg into the one of the "greenest" and most tornado-proof place in the country.

All built to be energy efficient and tornado-resistant -- turning Greensburg into the one of the "greenest" and most tornado-proof place in the country.

Mayor Bob Dixson, who lost his house too, says Greensburg has a clear message to send Joplin.

"There really is hope, even in the darkest days, those first few weeks," said Dixson. "All you see is rubble and what's going to happen. We from Greensburg want to say, 'Never give up hope.'"

Jill and Scott Eller moved forward by building a new eco-friendly home, designed to withstand another monster tornado.

And next week, the town that understands the need so well, plans to send a relief convoy to Joplin.

Jill helped organize the effort, and had planned to go -- but now she's not sure.

"It's not that I don't want to help, but this is the best way that I can," said Jill "I can't go there right now.

For Jill, it's all too fresh, because, even after four years, some wounds still have not healed.