Returning home

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Bob and Dina Sellers stand in their newly built home about eight months after the March tornado hit their house, leaving it in shambles. The couple plans to move into the house on Dec.1.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Even a tornado couldn’t uproot a Clovis couple from their neighborhood.

Nearly eight months after a tornado destroyed their home, construction is almost complete on a replacement. Bob and Dina Sellers are expected to move in Dec. 1.

As the couple walked through their new $200,000 house last week, they rejoiced over a large master bath and having two stories. Their old house had two small bathrooms.

“Every time I’d shave, I’d hit my elbow,” said Bob Sellers, 68, laughing as he reminisced about his old home.

The couple found the plans for their new home on the Internet. Dina Sellers said they decided on a Moroccan-style house, but made a few changes, such as stone around the windows instead of shutters. Their new house is about 250 square feet larger.

“This is going to be an office,” said Dina Seller, 44, about a room off the upstairs loft. “I’m a nursing student, so I’ll be spending a lot of time in here.”

Their insurance company put them into a rental house, complete with furniture, as the Sellers’ furniture was destroyed.

“To go to somebody else’s home where you don’t want to hang anything up or make it your own homey little place has been really hard,” said Dina Sellers, expressing the couple’s frustration of not having a home of their own for the past eight months.

Even though their home was barely recognizable, only for a moment did the Sellers considered moving out of their neighborhood near Yucca Middle School after the tornado hit March 23.

“You want to know why we stayed (in our neighborhood)?” Bob Sellers said. “Our good neighbors.”

The Sellers also said the people of Clovis came through for them in a big way.

Dina Sellers told of people bringing them food and gift cards to restaurants.

“We had people coming up to us asking us if we needed help — strangers — and we had a train of people’s vans and trucks hauling our stuff to our storage units,” Bob Sellers said. “We were at the house cleaning and a lady walks up and hands me a $20 bill.”

Though the aftermath of the tornado left the Sellers homeless, there were small blessings. The couple wasn’t home when the tornado hit their house, and their four Shitzus survived.

Dina and Bob Sellers remember their shock at returning home after an evening out for dinner and finding their home in shambles.

“I don’t have a word for it. It is indescribable,” Dina Sellers said. “It’s something you see in a movie or something.”

Two people died, about 35 people were reported injured and 500 buildings were damaged in the tornado, according to local officials.