The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

June 17, 2013

Twins born 2 years after twister called blessing


The twins, Jimmy Jr. and JaMya, are now almost 7 weeks old, the age their older brother was when he died. Their two older siblings, Jamari, age 6, and Lanyja, age 3, are proud of their new siblings.

"The two of them are very excited to have a little brother and a little sister," Alshakenya Hughes said.

The last two years went by quickly, but it hasn't been easy, Alshakenya Hughes said.

Lanyja, who survived the tornado in the family's bathtub, doesn't remember much from the storm because she was so young, Hughes said. But the family moved to their grandmother's mobile home in Cottondale two months ago, where there are train tracks nearby. Lanyja "went crazy" whenever she would hear a train — a similar sound that she heard during the April 27, 2011, tornado, her mom said. But she doesn't react like that much now that the family has been there a while, Hughes said.

Although it's been two years since the family lost its home, Alshakenya and her children have yet to find permanent housing. With the babies being newborns, she hasn't been working full time, either. After the tornado, there is little affordable housing left, she said. But she said she hopes to find work soon, go back to school and find a permanent home.

"It's still sort of unbelievable, you know," Hughes said last week, cradling her newborn daughter in her arms, her newborn son napping nearby in a swing. "They are a blessing."

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