ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – In Limestone County Tuesday, the effort is underway to salvage what could be found, pick-up the pieces and prepare to move on. A tornado decimated a trailer park on Highway 72 killing two people. Every mobile home in the park was essentially destroyed. Dozens of families are without a home, but despite their losses, they’re grateful.
WHNT News 19’s Al Whitaker was there just moments after the tornado hit Monday. He went back to that area Tuesday to find some of the people he first saw yesterday.
“I did find some of the people I first saw yesterday, and yes, they say they are grateful to be alive.”
“Just screaming and crying, it’s picking the vents up in the storm shelter and slinging ‘em down, all you can do is pray and hope for the best that we make it out through it, and we did, and we opened the door and my apartment is what they saw first and they knew everything was gone,” says Christie Gooch. She says the pain of losing her belongings was quickly overshadowed by the realization they had been spared.
“We’re safe. We’ve got to make another start now, you know. We wasn’t, we just moved into our apartment three weeks ago, a month, not even that long.”
There’s a lot of starting over here. A lot of people who didn’t have a lot to lose, lost what they had. When I first saw Sharon Kellum, she was afraid she had lost everything.
“Oh, it was devastating. My family was here, that was the mainly, I was worried about my family, my husband and my kids. But they were safe, they were in the storm shelter,” Kellum said.
And then there was Teresa Ingram. When I first saw her Monday she was tending to the injured. The woman she was with had just lost her husband and mother-in-law. Teresa would stay with the woman until rescuers moved her to the hospital.
“I still see her in my head. I still see them, their faces. So if I could say anything to anyone, when they say get in the shelter, get in the shelter. “
“You did all you could…”
“I still see their faces, still see their faces.”
From the outside looking in, it’s easy to overlook the emotional toll, until you hear their words. The American Red Cross spent much of the day here working with these families to make certain they have a place to stay, and the chance to start over. From Limestone County, Al Whitaker, WHNT News 19.