Memorial held on anniversary of deadly 2019 Lee County tornado

Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 9:25 PM CST
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LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - Surrounding a cross, the names of 23 people who were killed in the 2019 Lee County tornado were called out one by one.

It has been three years since the storm struck the area and rattled the community, but for many the wounds are still fresh.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it because we lost so many loved ones, family members, lost classmates,” said District 5 Lee County Commissioner Richard LaGrand.

The memorial was hosted at Providence Baptist Church, which also played a vital role in recovery efforts. It was a hub for first responders.

“Built this all-purpose building,” pastor Rusty Sowell said. “Had its own generator, all those kind of things, showers, etc., and some people were wondering why that all-purpose to begin with, why not a sanctuary. But then when the tornado hit, and people from all over the world started coming and sending things, we looked around and said, ‘You know, this is why this was here.’”

The service followed a day of events, each one seeking to unify the community.

“Its very heartwarming to me to see how everybody comes together,” District 4 Lee County Commissioner Robert Ham said. “They did that when the storm hit, and three years later we’re still doing that.”

It was what some described as the silver lining of the disaster – hope and healing through a bonded community.

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