The names of nearly three dozen DeKalb County residents killed in the April 27 storms are etched in stone.
Their families, friends, and hundreds of others attended a ceremony dedicated to their memory Saturday, as the Long Term Recovery Committee unveiled a monument.
“It means everything,” Cody Goins said.
His 3-year-old daughter Hannah died in the storm.
“It’s been a rough year. I’m proud of that monument, though at first it was heartbreaking.”
His mother, Debra Goins, said the family made the decision to donate Hannah’s organs in the days following April 27.
“She saved seven lives,” Debra said about her granddaughter.
“There was a 2-year-old boy that got her heart, and there were six others that got other organs and everything. It’s very sad, but we had to have something good come out of something bad,” she said.
Jan Perkins and her sister, Beverly Hammons, were thrown from their house during the tornado.
It also destroyed the house next door, killing their mother, Ida Jessie Ott, and brother, Robert Timothy Ott.
The sisters, joined by Jan’s daughter’s Jessie, placed roses beneath the engraved names of the Otts.
“It broke my heart. It really did. It was more real, I guess,” Perkins said.
She was glad to be here on this day, and share it with the other survivors.
“It means a whole lot, and I was so thrilled at what I saw when they unveiled it.
“My brother and my mother are on that monument, and it’s something that will always be remembered.”
She plans to visit regularly and reminisce.
“It’s like a closure. It’s almost like another funeral, but they’re here,” she said about her mother and brother.
“They may not be physically, but they are spiritually.”