Nightly News | May 22, 2013
>>> finally tonight i have here with me on the desk a brick from joplin high school . they were kind enough to give a few of these out to various folks with ties to that community. the bricks are a cherished symbol of all that was lost two years ago today when an ef5 twister tore up joplin including the high school . a third of the town was destroyed. 162 people lost their lives. now some of joplin 's first responders have gone to moore, oklahoma, to help out. back in joplin , the folks are talking about what they have learned these past two years. nbc's erica hill has our report tonight from joplin .
>> reporter: a new landscape is emerging in joplin , one that looks almost nothing like this 22-mile path of destruction .
>> devastation is a short while, but determination lasts all the time.
>> reporter: determined to come back stronger. bethany first shared her story of survival with brian after she and her husband don rode out the tornado in this bathtub.
>> he got on top of me to take the brunt of most of it. and, you know, he's my hero.
>> reporter: don saved bethany , but he didn't survive. two years later, the void remains, but bethany is grateful for a second chance.
>> i get to say thank you for -- letting me have this life. but i get to live it for him, too.
>> reporter: a life that now includes a 4-month-old daughter who bethany calls her inspiration. there is plenty of inspiration to be found here. nearly 90% of affected businesses are now open. 75% of homes have been rebuilt, and 80% of new homes now include a safe room. mercy hospital , a new facility will open in 2015 with walls and windows built to with stand 250 miles per hour winds. its electrical systems securely buried under ground.
>> joplin is a city of hope . we know what it's like to suffer, but we also know what it's like to get back up.
>> try to say the right things that can come even whenever it doesn't seem there could be another bright day .
>> reporter: there is much to celebrate as this town rebuilds, but it is the strength of its people that is the true measure of success. erica hill , nbc news, joplin , missouri.