Hackleburg tornado victim’s memory lives on through Wrangler scholarship

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HACKLEBURG, Ala. (WHNT) - The community gathered in the town of Hackleburg Monday to remember the victims and devastation left by the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak.

An EF-5 struck the town at 3:27 in the afternoon, wiping out schools and homes. It also killed 25 people in Marion County, including the town of Hackleburg.

"It was a battlefield here," said Roger Knight. "I went up to the Wrangler factory later that day to find my wife, and it looked like a bomb had gone off. The town wasn't much different."

Knight lost his wife to that tornado. She was working at Wrangler when it hit. As you can imagine, April 27 is a tough day for him.

"When you hear a big clap of thunder or see a bolt of lightning come across the sky, you'll think about things like that too," Knight said. "Memories and things will never go away, which, I don't want them to. You'll always want that memory."

To honor the memory of Linda Knight, the employees at Wrangler created a scholarship in her name. "They give a Hackleburg High School senior a scholarship in honor of Linda. The employees at Wrangler did that themselves."

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 9.48.53 PMThey offered money from their personal paychecks at Wrangler to fund that scholarship, another gesture that shows the Hackleburg community is more of a family.

That family binds together as a force of their own every April 27 now as a human cross, to show the strength the town has as they continue to rebuild.

Roger Knight was also elected a Marion County commissioner in 2014, and he serves the people of Hackleburg.