Hamilton Crossroads Holiday Spirit

A feast is being prepared in one Wiregrass community where a tornado touched down just over a year ago.

The damages from the storm have not dampened Hamilton Crossroads holiday spirit.

Anthony Gardnier has a lot to be thankful for this year. "When the tornado hit I was at Troy University. I'm a nursing student and I was in school and they call me. I'm a volunteer firefighter at the fire department here at Hamilton Crossroads."

Last year, instead of pulling a turkey out of the oven, Anthony was pulling fallen trees from his yard.

"My barn disappeared and 90% of my trees, nine in the backyard; over 27 trees are gone," Anthony said.

Last year’s tornado brought fierce winds, which ripped through trees like small twigs. Pieces of what once was the water tower were scattered on the ground.

A year later, a brand new fire department is up and running and the pieces of the fallen water tower are coming back together.

Anthony says the toughest part of the storm was keeping everyday life normal. "I still have to go to school, I still have to take care of everything, my wife still has to go to work; so that was basically our biggest concern," he said.

Now, Anthony's biggest concern is cooking and spending time with friends and family. "We're going to be giving thanks to all the things that God has provided," he concluded.

And, Anthony says he is still in the process of getting his home together. He says there still needs to be new carpet installed and other minor cosmetics.

The Hamilton Crossroads community received a $200,000 dollar grant, courtesy of Alabama Governor Bob Riley and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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