This is from CSA member Tom Kelly. He and his wife survived the storm and are now busy tending to their neighbors. He graciously allowed us to share this with our readers:
This has been one difficult time for all of Alabama, from Tuscaloosa to the Tennessee border. The tornado’s were more than any meteorologist could count, as they touched down in Alabama Wednesday the 27th of April. I can say from just my perspective, that it was one frightening time in all of our lives. To watch the very first one come through Madison, Alabama at noon on the 27th was something that only living through it could possibly explain. The hail was so fierce that it is impossible to even try and explain. But Karen and I took cover more than once on that day as tornado after tornado came through our area.
Our damage is so minimal in comparison to those just one mile from our doorstep that I will not even go into major detail. Our home is standing and in pretty good shape with only damage to the outside fences and buildings. But as I said just one mile from our home it is total devastation. So many lost their lives and homes, it is just terribly heartbreaking.
Karen and I went to be volunteers with the Madison County Sheriff’s Chaplain Association to work with them handing out water, tarps, food and helping those injured that came to this facility and their clinic that was set up. Everything from sprained ankles to children stepping on nails.
Electricity went out on Wednesday the 27th and we did not get any back till today, almost 6 days to the hour. We went to Nashville and purchased a generator yesterday to have some kind of normalcy for the past two days. Needless to say that it became a problem with no electricity and a full freezer and refrigerator. But we had a neighbor who knew someone in Athens, Alabama who had electricity, so we unloaded just a portion of our freezer meat to be stored in their freezer. And we had another friend who regained their electricity on Saturday so we took some more of our meat to their empty freezer. So we were greatly blessed in all areas from having a home still standing to saving most of our frozen meat.
But as you see the pictures of those who were hit so hard, the pictures cannot even begin to tell you the devastation that exists. They say this is the largest breakout of tornado’s in history and they will get no disagreement from any of us. There were so many you could not keep up with the warnings that were coming from our weather radio. When the electricity went out at noon on Wednesday we had no weather information other than a very small portable radio which did the best they could with the information that was fed to them. Our dogs are still not normal as they were very stressed out, as were their owners.
But things will return to normal as is happening today or with us anyway. But those who lost everything but their lives, I am not sure what normal is, and it will be many months for all of this to sink in. All I know is, I learned a whole lot about my own faith, my own strength and what my weaknesses and strengths were. A difficult time for all, yet not without purpose.
So thank all of you for thinking of us and praying for us and this whole area. Sitting here using my email again is such a blessing, and one doesn’t know what they have lost till they no longer have the ability to use any modern technology. We had no phones, even I-Phones till Saturday. So communications with family and friends was impossible. That was very difficult and still difficult when you think back on those days now that my computer is up and running again.
Shock is a funny thing to deal with, and different people handle it differently. But all I know is, it was almost impossible to sleep, even though you were exhausted. Your mind would race to what had just happened, and what needed to be done the next day to survive. Karen and I were talking just this past weekend that we have been through the Loma Prieta earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1989, straight line winds in GA, experienced three hurricanes including Katrina when we lived on the Gulf Coast. And now we have looked at a tornado face to face. I am not sure what else there is to experience as far as what insurance companies call acts of God. But with the destruction we have witnessed in all of these storms, I am not sure at all what part God plays in these. Only those who have never experienced them seem to have the details. Many have discussed this, but when you are in the midst of one you really have no idea who is in charge of what, as they are so fierce and dangerous.
So thank all of you for thinking of us.
Tom & Karen Kelly