by Danielle Wagner
NEW HARTFORD (KWWL) Two towns with the same name... one hit hard by last year's natural disasters... and the other doing its part to help.
The Laurel Music Camp in New Hartford, Connecticut offered two New Hartford, Iowa students an opportunity to attend the prestigious camp for free.
Soon to be high school seniors Brandi Miller and Chyanne Smith both lost their homes more than a year ago.
Miller in the tornado...
"Coming up the stairs was an overwhelming feeling. Just talking about it gives me shivers, but just walking around and seeing nothing was not fun," said Brandi Miller.
and Smith in the flood...
"We live in the lowest part of New Hartford, so we had almost six feet of water in our house. Our whole bottom floor was ruined and they condemned our house and we had to burn it down," said Chyanne Smith.
At the end of June, the two girls spent about a week in New Hartford, Connecticut.
Laurel Music Camp invited Miller and Smith to attend the camp as special guests. Neither had ever been to New England.
"When I first got there I was miserable. I was homesick and thought I want to go back home. I'm so far away from my family and friends, but by the end I was in tears. I made so many friends. Everybody was so nice," said Smith.
"When we met everyone I was so scared because I didn't know anyone, but they were all so friendly and welcoming to us and introduced us to everyone and it was just great," said Miller.
Miller participated in band, playing the clarinet. Smith took part in chorus singing alto. Rehearsals were eight hours a day, but it wasn't all about music.
"It was everything a camp should be. Every night we had a different activity. We had a dance and a stunt night where people did little skits that were funny," said Smith.
There was also swimming and canoeing and a concert at the end.
Both girls said they'd love to go back and are grateful for the opportunity given to them by the Laurel Music Camp and other residents of New Hartford, Connecticut.
"It meant so much to know even people a thousand miles away have heard of us and care about us and it was very reassuring to know," said Brandi Miller.
Reporter: Danielle Wagner