Nearly three-dozen DeKalb County residents died in the April 27 storms, and over 150 of their friends and family members gathered Friday evening at the football stadium in Ider for a candlelight vigil.
“I think it shows respect for our loved ones, whether they have loved ones that died or not,” Beverly Hammons said.
Her brother, Timothy Ott, and their mother Ida died when their house was torn apart.
She said she tries not to think about it.
“Brings back a lot of memories. I try to forget everything. I think too often of my mom and my brother.”
She and her sister, Jan Perkins, survived and rebuilt a new home on the same property.
“I’m a whole lot better off than a lot of other people, that’s for sure, and just happy to be here,” Hammons said.
“Happy my sis and I made it through it. Very fortunate.”
The candlelight vigil was organized by several local ministers, including Robby Ferguson.
His second-cousin, Jeremy Ferguson, was killed, along with Jeremy’s wife Tawnya and 6-year-old daughter Emma.
“We want to show them that we love them, we’re still thinking about them, and those 35 that were lost in the county, that we’re thinking of their families, and it’s just a way to uplift the community,” Ferguson said.
Hammons said the unity of the community amazes her.
“[We] have each others’ backs. I’ve never seen so many people come together and show so much love,” she said.
“And they’re strangers.”
She said the community is still helping others out, and the camaraderie helps most of all.
“It’s closure. It’s therapy for sure when you speak to somebody who’s been there and knows what you’ve been through.”