Pulaski neighborhood continues to rebuild

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PULASKI, Va. (WDBJ7) A community in Pulaski hit by a tornado six years ago is continuing to rebuild.

Habitat For Humanity of the New River Valley is building three homes in neighborhoods that were damaged. That's a small part in a larger project to revitalize the area.

Rebuilding and getting funds makes this a long process that started soon after the tornado hit.

Habitat for Humanity received separate funding to build the homes. It's part of a continued project to help revive the neighborhood.

Michael Smith is putting in hard work and sweat equity for big benefits.

"You're paying it forward. Even though you're working on your own house you're still paying it forward," Smith said.

He's working on a Habitat house that's under construction so another home nearby can be his.

"You're putting in the sweat to see what it's like to build a new home and to know that, say, I did this, I did that," Smith said.

Habitat is partnering with the town to help bring new construction and hope into a community that's seen heartache.

"So we're in here along with a few other organizations just trying to bring some life back into the neighborhood," said Joe Gruss, the construction manager for Habitat.

Besides Habitat's work, it's taken a collection of local, state, and federal funds to help the area improve its homes.

A million dollars from the Community Development Block Grant is helping fund some of the construction work.

Another two million from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management also helped rebuild about two dozen homes.

It's taking a lot of work and hours, but people constructing the new homes and renovations say it's worth helping the community.

"We talk to the neighbors, the neighbors love what we're doing here, it's great meeting them and meeting the rest of the community," Gruss said.

One neighbor who's lived here for decades tells WDBJ7 there's still more work to do like repairing a reoccurring flood issue.