A new business owner in Moore, Okla., starts piecing life back together

Matt Johnson salvages items from his grandparent's home after a powerful tornado ripped through the neighborhood on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Okla.

Officials in Moore, Okla., said today they're pretty sure they've recovered the bodies of all those who died in the tornado Monday. Which means the long road to putting objects, homes and lives back together can begin in earnest.

Homes and businesses were destroyed by the dozens. And if history's any guide, figuring out of how to get the aid money that's going to let people rebuild is going to be complicated.

Gaydawn Magee is one of those business owners. And her storefront? "Looks like it was put through a blender," she said. 

She's lived through her share of tornadoes, but Magee's company, Ideal Hearing Solutions, is less than a year old. This will be her first time navigating a maze of insurance paperwork and federal forms. 

"Luckily I did find my patient records and I have a CPA that's offsite," she said, making her claim more straightforward. "That was the saving grace."

The Moore High School alum plans to stay put, albeit in a new location.

"First day it happened I was, I won't say grumpy, but not having my best day," she said. "But if I had a choice, I'd rather lose my business than my friends or children." 

Magee herself was out of harm's way, preparing to leave town to pursue her hobby: recreating historic battles for tourist audiences in Tombstone, Ariz., and elsewhere. 

"I'm a gunfighter. We basically dress up in Victorian or period clothing," Magee said. But she doesn't have to roll over and play dead in the shows very often. "Most of the time I'm an outlaw."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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