The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

May 25, 2013

Tornado upon them, quick choices decided fate


"Help me," she screamed, still clinging to her dog. Flynn emerged, picked her up and led her to the bunker.

In the midst of the tornado, the bunker's metal door flew off. "Good Lord," Parrish prayed. "Why is this happening?"

Afterward, Flynn helped her up out of the hole.

She set Little Bit down on the driveway. The tiny dog just stood there, staring at the gutted house and whimpering.

"June the 3rd, I would have been here 47 years," the snowy-haired woman said as she surveyed the pitiful sight under a blazing sun Thursday.

Going through the debris, Eldon found a 3-foot-high yard angel he'd given his mother a couple of Christmases ago and stood it up in front of the house.

"I've got a lot of angels," his mother said. "I've got one great big two-legged one right over there."


When he ran the Wal-Mart store in Tulsa, Adam Stutzman had a 45-minute commute to and from home. After they moved to Moore to take over the Neighborhood Market there eight years ago, he made sure to get a house close enough that he could go home for lunch with Susan and the kids.

After lunch Monday, the Stutzmans decided to check 13-year-old Alyssa out of school early so they could all go to an assembly at North Moore Elementary. Coleton, 10, had gotten straight As and was receiving a superintendent's award certificate.

By the time the ceremony ended around 2:30, Moore was already on high alert. Knowing his family would be safe in the shelter they'd installed beneath their garage three years ago, Stutzman decided to head over to the store on SE 4th Street to make things were all right.

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