The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

June 17, 2013

Twins born 2 years after twister called blessing

— COTTONDALE, Ala. (AP) — When the April 27, 2011, tornado hit Holt, Alshakenya Hughes ran to her home's bathroom for safety along with her then 1-year-old daughter, her boyfriend and their 7-week old son, Kaiden.

But it was too little, too late. The massive EF4 tornado ripped apart the family's mobile home. When Hughes woke up, she was on her back in the middle of a debris field, seeing nothing but sky and flying objects, she said.

"It looked like Armageddon, with particles still floating," Hughes said. "You looked all around and the only way we could tell where we were was because Soma Church was still standing."

Her daughter, who had been in her arms, was also unhurt, still in the bathtub. But her 7-week old son had been hit by debris. It was apparent he needed to get to a hospital, Hughes said. With the help of a police officer, Hughes was able to get her son to DCH Regional Medical Center. He was airlifted to Children's of Alabama, a hospital in Birmingham, soon after. He died the next day.

Two years after that storm, Hayes once again found herself at DCH, but this time for a much different reason: She gave birth to twins, a daughter and a son. They were born on April 27, 2013, exactly two years after the tornado.

"When I thought about the date when the twins were born, it put chills on me," said their grandmother, Jeannette Hughes. "They are a blessing. It shows me that God is good."

The twins will never be a replacement for their brother, but their mother said she does think their birth date is a sign from God.

"It's almost like God took one child from me but then gave me two," Alshakenya Hughes said.

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