Archived Story

Reflecting on the storm

Published 6:01pm Monday, April 23, 2012

This coming Friday, April 27, will mark the one year anniversary of the tornadoes that ravaged Alabama, as well as parts of Tallapoosa and Elmore counties.

April 27, 2011, and the days to follow will forever be in my mind and will also stir a mix of emotions in my heart.

I received a phone call at about 11:45 p.m. on April 27 and was told by my managing editor, Katie Cole, that the newsroom was to meet in the office at 7 a.m.

So on April 28, at 6:30 a.m., I began my drive from Eclectic to Alexander City and soon found out just how horrific the storm had been.

The entire drive from my home revealed severe damage to homes, debris covered roadways, downed power lines, as well as uprooted or snapped trees.

One of those places was Children’s Harbor, and I could barely recognize the campus.

Once I got to the office we were all assigned different areas to cover, and I was assigned the areas hit in Elmore County.

So I then made the trip all the way back to Eclectic and went from place to place in a few long hours, asking people about their stories and hoping not to sound insensitive to the fact that their homes – and even some of their family members – had been taken away.

One of the places I visited was Myer’s County Acres, a mobile home park in Eclectic, which was completely destroyed and was where five of the seven deaths were in Elmore County.

April 27 changed so many lives, and many are just now getting back to some kind of normalcy, and while the day was tragic in many ways, it also revealed a lot about people.

Some people were heartbroken, bitter even, but some people shared stories of triumph over their troubles, blessings because of their brokenness.

And then there were others who swept in and found ways to help tornado victims get back on their feet.

In the midst of a tragedy, everyone came together and helped each other out.

To me, that is such an amazing testimony for mankind, that we can really love one another despite so many things that keep us at odds with each other every day.

As we come upon this anniversary of tragedy and triumph, I challenge everyone, including myself, to remember to be there for our neighbors at all times, to love them even when tragedy hasn’t struck.

With that being said, I’ll close with one of my favorite quotes by John Wesley.

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

Hargett is a staff writer for The Outlook.