One Year Later: Wilcox County Residents Remember EF-4 Tornado

Feb 28, 2008 11:33 PM CST -
WILCOX COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - Jamie Wallace considers himself lucky to be alive after an unforgettable storm passed through his house--and left a path of destruction in its wake.

"You'll never forget that moment," Wallace said.  "It's like a giant earthquake.  The earth trembled."

Wallace's neighbor died when the EF-4 tornado jumped the Alabama river and landed on his doorstep.

A storm shelter, however, saved Wallace and his wife.

"Until you're in [a tornado] and crawl out of a hole in the ground and look around, it's a different feeling," Wallace explained.

Things have quieted down in the twelve months since the storm.

The year brought progress. New structures sprouted up amongst foundations left by battered homes.  Residents even created a fire department, stocked with donated vehicles and equipment.

However, even though the debris is gone, the memories will last forever.

"When [the tornado] came, all the stuff was swirling, and the house was shaking, and it just picked it up and just set it crooked on the foundation and the roof lifted off," Kidd said.

Edna Kidd also lost her home in the tornado, but now, her new house is nearly complete, and after a year, she's moving back.

"It's exciting to be going back," Kidd said.  "You know, it's strange to be away from a home and be able to have a place to call home for a year."

Rebuilding--it's a common sight throughout the area.

A drastic change from a half-mile wide swath forged by natural disaster.

"We had a lot of roots throughout the state--people that helped us get back on our feet.  We're pretty well whole now," Wallace said.

Reporter:  Cody Holyoke