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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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May 21st, 2013
05:55 PM ET

Tornado survivors piece lives back together

Survivors of Monday's deadly, powerful Oklahoma tornado are now digging through the rubble, trying to piece their lives back together. Those lucky enough are also hugging their family members just a little tighter.

Justin Stephan returned to a home that was obliterated by the tornado. He picked through the debris, trying to salvage what he could, like family photos, and a small blue Thomas the Tank truck treasured by his son.

"Just the little things that mean the most to my family," said Stephan.

Stephan's wife and two young children were at home when the storm hit, they went across the street to a neighbor's house to take shelter in their cellar. Their eldest daughter was at Plaza Towers Elementary School, one of two schools flattened by the tornado, and where seven young students died. Stephan's daughter escaped mostly unharmed, with just a cut on her leg that needed a few stitches.

Stephan said he is unsure how his family will pick up and start again, but he was certain about one thing.

"I just know that my family is safe, and that's the only thing that matters to me," said Stephan.

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