The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Tornado Outbreak 2011

December 28, 2011

Top Stories of 2011: Strange twists of April 27


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Family Bible found

In May, a local woman named Anne Johnson found the birth certificate of John Lynch, who was killed on April 27 by a tornado in Hackleburg.

John’s brother, Alvin Lynch of Muscle Shoals, soon sent an email to Editor Kelly Kazek: “Thank you for the kind article I found it on line and have printed out a copy for our family. It’s things like this that helps bring closure to this difficult time in our lives I know (John’s son) Tony will be pleased to know many will be praying for this family tragedy. After you and I spoke yesterday afternoon I received a call from a neighbor of John’s, that his family Bible has been found and it has some papers and pictures in it. I will go down today and pick it up and maybe some papers that Tony still needs might be in the Bible. I know the pictures will be treasured…”

‘I Fear No Wind’

Of all the items that fell from the sky April 27, an East Limestone resident found a scrap of paper particularly inspiring. It included a portion of a page from a hymnal bearing the words: “…storms I’ve braved, I’ve anchored in Jesus, I fear no wind or wave…”

Lyrics of the chorus to the hymn, “I’ve Anchored in Jesus,” are:

“I’ve anchored in Jesus; the storms of life I’ll brave.

I’ve anchored in Jesus; I fear no wind or wave.

I’ve anchored in Jesus, for He hath pow’r to save.”

Special quilt returned to owner

Carrie Morgan’s quilt, which had teal squares outlining photos from her youth, survived a fire that burned her Phil Campbell home in 2006. After the fire, the quilt, sewn by Reba Smith as a Christmas gift for Carrie when she was in high school, was stored at the home of Carrie’s mom, Fern Morgan, in the East Franklin community. 

After the storm, the family discovered much of the tiny burg of Phil Campbell was gone. Twenty-six people were killed there. Carrie learned her mobile home had escaped damage but Fern’s home was demolished and the special quilt was gone.

Though saddened by the realization, Carrie was too grateful her family was unharmed to worry about possessions.

Then, several days later, Carrie received a phone call. Someone said they saw a photo of her quilt posted on the Facebook page Pictures and Documents Found After the April 27 Tornadoes.

In Athens, Leah Meyer and her husband Stan noticed an object in a far corner of their yard off Timberline Drive. The same EF-5 tornado that struck Phil Campbell had traveled another 80 miles to hit Tanner, then the East Limestone community, before crossing the Madison County line into Harvest and then into Tennessee. Along its 132-mile path, the monster, mile-wide tornado dropped debris collected from the towns it had recently leveled.

When Leah saw the mud-caked quilt, she says: “I took a look at it and it just touched my heart. It had pictures of girl from grade school to high school with the name ‘Carrie Lynn’ embroidered on it and the year, ‘2000.’ When you see something like that, you say, ‘We’ve got to find out who this belongs to.”

Leah posted a photo of it on the Facebook page.

In June, the Meyers and Morgans met in Phil Campbell at the site of Fern’s demolished home where Leah returned the quilt to its owner.

Carrie said she plans to pass along the quilt to her children, along with spirit of survival that goes with it.

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Tornado Outbreak 2011


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