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Our Spirit Will Not Be Broken: Voices from the April StormsOur Spirit Will Not Be Broken: Voices from the April Storms

April 27, 2011
by Colton Harris

I woke up and saw a tornado barreling through Tuscaloosa on the television. Little did I know that would impact my life. You see the tornado and realize homes are being destroyed, but it is still neat to see it caught on the tower cam. My family was sitting in the house just watching the weather because that is what we do on stormy days with tornado warnings. Twenty minutes later and we were in the basement.

We were in the basement watching the weather and the power went out and we were cut off from James Spann’s weather forecast. All we knew it could be headed for us. My dad and I did not worry about it really, but my mom and brother were very scared. We heard something hit the roof and wondered if it was here. My dad said it was not here and he went to look outside. I wanted to look outside too and see what was going on, but my mom would not let me. Eventually, I went outside and looked anyways. I saw things falling from the sky like it was raining boards and metal. My dad decided it was not near us, and in a few minutes, it was all over.

We knew it had hit somewhere near Oak Grove, but we did not know where so we left the job of finding out where it hit to Mrs. Dennis, our neighbor who can find anything out. The next day we decided to help clean up. My family helped with Smithville Baptist Church that weekend to clean up everything. We started out in Dogwood because you could not get into Concord yet and people in Dogwood needed help too. There were a lot of men and women from Smithville who were helping; most women cooked while the men cut up trees and the boys hauled the cut up stuff off.

One time Coach Northcutt said, “Where is Tyler?”

Brother Mike said,” I don’t know, have you seen Isaac?”

Someone said they were up on the hill eating hot dogs, and Brother Mike and Coach Northcutt said,” Watch this,” and they whistled really loudly.

Two seconds later I saw Isaac sprinting down the hill and then Tyler was behind him with a hot dog in his hand, and everyone laughed. That was how most of the weekend was; we worked hard, but joked around too.

Once we finished in Dogwood, we were finally able to get into Concord. We worked and cleaned up most of the trees on Gay Street for the next two days. There were a lot of giant trees out there too. The people cooking hot dogs also fixed food for those people. They fed one lady her first hot meal since the storm came through.

We tried to work at another house too, but for some reason it seemed like it did not work out when we tried to work at some places, but these people only had a giant tree that had a trunk wider than I was tall. It was too dangerous to cut up the limbs on it though because someone could fall.

By the end of that weekend, I was tired and I think everyone else was too. It was nice to be done with just about everything we could do.