Richmond Hill woman grateful this Thanksgiving
This Thanksgiving holds special meaning for several residents of Richmond Hill. One year after an explosion killed two people and destroyed much of their south side neighborhood, they're settling back in.
Natasha Cole, who moved into her new home four months ago, says she's thankful it was in time for the holidays.
"It was very important, I love the Christmas season," she said. "I'm very excited about setting up the tree and decorations and maybe having friends over."
Natasha and her husband Kevin's home was destroyed in the explosion that killed next-door neighbors Jennifer and Dion Longworth last November.
"I just feel for their parents and all their family members. It's just devastating," said Natasha.
The Coles' house was among 30 that had to be torn down. Prosecutors say the Longworth's neighbor Monserrate Shirley and her boyfriend Mark Leonard plotted to destroy Shirley's home to collect on the insurance. Leonard's brother, Bob Leonard, was also charged in the deadly crime.
Natasha said what happened "changes your perspective. On the upside you learn to appreciate things, because you know things can happen," but she said it also "makes me realize there's evil out there."
Still, Natasha says she and her husband have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.
"We have our [lives] and we can share our experience and know that things will get better and that people do care," she said. "It can be difficult but you take it one day at a time and keep moving forward. We have our faith and our friends."
She's also thankful they chose to stay in Richmond Hill and rebuild.
"I know a lot of the neighbors now. There's a good support system in Richmond Hill. I love being part of the neighborhood and knowing we all have each other's backs is really awesome," she said.