Kim Radostits stands in her newly constructed home-in the same place where her old house stood when the tornado that tore through the town of Fairdale touched down.
Literally ripping the roof off of her house.
“I never in a million years expected that to happen,” said Radostits. “At all.”
Her once tri-level home now lay in a pile of rubble at her feet.
“I want to say it was one of the worst nights of my life,” said Radostits. “But at the same time, I feel like it might’ve been one of the luckiest too. I really don’t know how we survived that.
And it’s that exact positive attitude that did not defeat her.
“I can see myself and my family as victims, or as survivors. And we’re survivors.”
Radostits is a Spanish teacher at Oregon High School, and had to keep on teaching.
She said it was difficult at first to have her two worlds collide, but was able to build her life back up with the help of her students.
“I really couldn’t have gotten through anything without them. I really couldn’t have. They really were my normal.”
Some students even signed up for service projects to help the Fairdale community in the aftermath of their tragedy.
“They kind of lived through this with me,” she said. “Which is really kind of special.”
Her students say she never let what she was going through get her down.
“She really put that aside, put it on the backburner just so that she could continue to teach with such a passion,” said one of her students, Mitchell Nearcor.
“I think students came around and helped her a lot, and we all care a lot about her,” said another Hawk, Maverik Good.
“She’s like the most positive person I’ve ever met,” said Kailand Marks. “She like radiates happiness-it’s crazy. She’s just super inspiring too.”
“Kim Radostits has got the most extraordinary spirit of any human being I have ever met,” said Principal Andrew Nelson, who also added that she had an outpour of people who wanted to help because she had done so much for so many before.
The tornado is something Radostits still thinks about every day.
But even in the rollercoaster of a year that she’s had, she says she wouldn’t change a thing.
“I’ve realized that life can be tough now, I do see that,” she said. “But I also know that no matter what life throws at me… I’m ready for it.”