Skip Navigation Links

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 Zachary Odom
March 13, 2012, Oak Grove High, Mrs. Powers, 8th grade

I woke up just like every day assuming it would be a typical day. I had heard that bad weather would come that day, but I didn’t comprehend how bad it would actually be. The school system knew something bad was coming because Jefferson County closed all the schools that day.

Later that afternoon, my dad was watching the news in the living room. I sat down beside him and listened as James Spann informed us that there was a tornado about to hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Just then, they showed a remote weather camera positioned somewhere in Tuscaloosa, and we saw an enormous tornado about to strike a tower of some sort. My dad turns to me and said, “This isn’t going to be good.” As we returned our attention to the television we saw the tower collapsing followed by a blank screen.

“We are expecting the tornado from Tuscaloosa to hit the Oak Grove, Concord and Hueytown area,” said James Spann. “Please get to your safe place if you are in those areas!” I turned to my dad and said, “Looks like it’s going to be a long evening.”

“Get your sisters and go to the basement. I’ll get your mother and the animals,” my dad says.

At about 5:30 p.m. and my whole family was crowded in my dad’s office in our basement. Everyone was so scared that they weren’t even speaking. Soon my dad instructed me to stay with the girls. He said he would. I wondered where he could possibly be going. Then I heard a door open and slam shut and just like that my dad was back with us. We heard the wind and then crashing metal sounds followed by a loud bang on the roof. This continued for a few minutes then silence. That’s all I heard.

“Come on out,” my dad instructed the rest of us. The only thing I could think of was devastation and destruction. There were 2x4’s drove into the ground like spears, tin roofing curled up like a paper ball, and insulation scattered like rain from the clouds. I picked up my cell phone and tried to call my grandparents to see if they are okay, but of course, the cell tower was down. So we all got into a car and drove to their house. It was miracle that the tornado missed them by only 200 yards! The only damage they had was some missing shingles, gutters, and a few trees down. It was only by God’s grace that they survived. I will never forget that day, April 27, 2011: The Day of Destruction.