Children's Harbor open despite $1 million in storm damage

ECLECTIC, AL (WSFA) - 10-year old Corey Bishop has no idea the camp he loves was nearly destroyed.

His mother, Kara, and sister Danielle Bishop remember hearing the news that Children's Harbor on Lake Martin in Eclectic had been hit by a tornado.

For them, this place is like a second home.

"This is the only vacation I get all year," says Kara.  Her son is there for Light the Way camp--a chance for children with ventilators and their families to come together for a fun-filled weekend.

They consider it a miracle to be here so soon after the storm.

"I just didn't really know what to think.  I was stunned that it hit here," says Danielle.

"I told them when I came in and saw it, there's part of you that feels saddened that it looks differently, but most of you you're just so thankful," adds Kara.

While camp commences, reminders of April's Fury are still fresh as bulldozers clean up remaining debris.

"Out of the 13 buildings there was not a building on this side that didn't have a roof off or a tree on top of it," says Children's Harbor Community Relations Director, Tammy Jackson.

From fallen trees to caved in roofs, Children's Harbor suffered $1-million dollars worth of damage, but directors say thanks to the generosity of their volunteers, they're only having to pay a tenth of it out of pocket.

"When I cried was when I turned around and I saw the volunteers coming," says Jackson.

She believes without volunteer help, they wouldn't be re-opening.

"They didn't drive up and say 'can you use me?'  They said, 'where do you want me to start?'"

And while the landscape may have changed...

"The mission is the same," adds Jackson.

Directors say if the tornado had struck two days later there would have been 300 people at an autism camp there. Despite the damage, they say they're just happy no one was hurt.

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