The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

May 25, 2013

Tornado upon them, quick choices decided fate


As they clambered across the debris pile, Macie spotted a Cabbage Patch doll that had been ripped in two. She scowled at her father when he refused to let her take it.

Scattered about were pages of religious sheet music from Kimberly's years of piano competition. In what had been the kitchen, a soggy book was open to the hymn, "How Firm a Foundation."

Miraculously, Odie emerged from the destruction and came over to his master. They dug and dug, but could not find Sammy.

On Thursday, they got a report that a dachshund had been recovered in the area. The description didn't quite fit, but they went to the shelter anyway — it was not Sammy.

Kimberly's aunt is letting the family stay in a home she owns up in Norman until they decide what to do next. Scott Evenson says it's doubtful his in-laws will rebuild.

Macie still doesn't talk much, But every once in a while, her mother will hear her daughter mumble the word, "Sammy."


Marianthe Bagensie was hunkered down at her office on Tinker Air Force Base when her phone rang. Her husband, Scott, was stuck in traffic on I-35, near 89th Street, heading toward the tornado.

"What are you doing there?" she asked, incredulous.

"I'm heading home to take care of the dogs and cats," the air traffic control specialist replied.

With older son Alexander serving in Afghanistan with the Air Force and 20-year-old Zack preparing to leave the nest, the seven animals had become more precious than ever to the couple. But Marianthe had just lost her mother and grandfather in one horrible March week, and she wasn't ready to lose Scott.

"Please," she begged. "Don't be stupid."

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