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Legally blind Tampa woman gets back into home nearly a decade after it was destroyed by tornado

Posted at 6:44 PM, Sep 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-25 18:57:20-04

TAMPA, Fla. — It has been nearly a decade since a tornado destroyed a legally blind Tampa woman's house.

But, with the help of Hillsborough County and a local non-profit, 89-year-old Mary Wilson once again slept under her own roof Tuesday night.

"I don't know whether to cry or holler or sing or pray. I don't know what to do," Mary Wilson said.

Whatever Wilson decided to do, she could do it in her own home.

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"You don't know how glad I am to be here and have my own home," Wilson said.

Wilson's house caught fire in 2011, but the house was first damaged by a tornado in 2010. She had been staying with her daughter ever since.

"This is my house. I go by my rules. If I want to stay here, I can stay here. See nobody tell me what to do," Wilson said.

To get there, Jose Garcia said his organization Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay partnered with the county for the $140,000 rebuild.

"There is a mortgage, no interest mortgage in place, it will be forgiven 20 years from today," Garcia said.

Garcia said Wilson also had a son in his 50s living with her, who was blind, and would be able to take over the mortgage. But, as of Tuesday, Wilson was just happy to take over her new kitchen.

"Oh, when I got in there in cook. I'm gonna cook me a banana pudding," Wilson said.

She was just happy to finally come back home.

"I'm gonna enjoy this house. If I never enjoy nothing in this world, I wanna enjoy this," Wilson said.