County Road 12: Turning tornado debris into hope

County Road 12: Beauregard Crosses

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - March third is a day the town of Beauregard will never forget. One woman is turning debris from that day into hope.

“I got a text the day of the storm saying Beauregard was hit and it’s pretty bad,” said Lee County resident Ashley Atkins.

As the news trickled in, it went from bad to worse. An EF-4 tornado leveled parts of the town leaving 23 people dead.

“When I saw it, I was just speechless. You can’t even fathom it.” Atkins said.

As clean up crews came in from all over the country the folks in Lee County were side by side with their neighbors in need. While making her way through a sea of splinters Atkins had an idea.

“It was very hard. I just asked her, do you mind if, I mean they had wood scattered everywhere, I said if I just grabbed a few pieces and make a few crosses. It just kind of snowballed from there." Atkins said.

Atkins began to gather wood ripped off homes and turned tragedy into symbols of hope.

“Once I get them all cut into pieces, you just push them all together, from there just wood glue and nails. You can see on the back where it came from. I like to put what road it came off of, the date, and Isaiah 54:11. It’s a verse that talks about rebuilding the city." Atkins said.

Atkins teamed up with East Alabama Medical Center to use the proceeds from her crosses to make a difference. She sells them for $20 each on her Facebook page Art By Ashley. All the proceeds then go to buy much needed supplies for those who lost so much.

"There will always be storms in life. There will always be hard times. Sometimes you will look around and see destruction and piles of wood. I want them to know there is always hope.” Atkins added.

Mother nature my have ripped apart this town in seconds, but the people are putting it back together on piece at a time. It’s easy to see where the term Beauregard Strong came from.

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