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Below is excerpts from my experience in the Tuscaloosa tornado. This letter was produced for everybody that thought I was dead. It was produced immediately after the tornado, but not published until we got our power back.

Good day everybody, been out of touch but I believe it will be understandable. As you probably heard of the weather problems in Tuscaloosa; it is known nationally. My house is located 2 blocks from ground zero in Alberta City. The experience I have had has been extremely traumatic, exhausting, I broke down a few times and emotionally I am drained. This thing scarred me to no end and it hurt me.

I realize my friends on the internet, some very close and some that just know me, I AM FINE. I am still alive; therefore, I am not dead. I have war stories but will keep to myself because, it is too hurtful to me to recall and besides I simply do not want to. But for now, I thought it important just to let you know that I survived and I am  OK. A lot of my friends did not make it and it hurts me to no end. My car is wasted; however, it will be replaced at some time.

I am sure you saw on news reports about the catastrophe, but none go into detail about the size and scope of it at all. It all started in Geiger in Alabama, it was an EF5 (2nd in two weeks for them), they are in Sumter County. It proceeded NE through Sawyerville and  Ralph parallel to I59, entered Tuscaloosa turned slightly north on Greensboro, east on 15th Street and into Forest Lake.

In Forest Lake two tornadoes formed. EF5 proceeded NE across McFarland on 13th ST, kicker road, 2 blocks of 10th ST E, and into the business district of Alberta, two blocks from me. The business district absorbed 100% loss. It proceeded NE through Jaycee Park and demolished Holt, Up holt- Peterson road to Peterson, Brookwood and in Jefferson County in Hueytown, Pleasant Grove and Concorde. It ended up joining a system in Cullman. This tornado was on the ground most of the time and as James Spann, a local meteorologist said, “This thing should be in Kansas”.

The other tornado was an EF4 and it turned east, but it stayed in the air most of the time. It went over Cottondale and destroyed Coaling. It proceeded into Birmingham, I459 and I understand it hit Vestavia and Hoover. This tornado didn’t get much attention because of the first tornado.

The NE (EF5) Tornado produced all the destruction in the metro area. The University of Alabama and downtown wasn’t touched, but it carved a path through the county unlike anything I have ever seen. The destruction was on a massive scale and it destroyed a lot of lives. Here is a list of communities included in this path. Listed west to east is: Sawyerville (In Pickens County), Ralph, Sahama Village, Some of Greensboro Ave, Rosedale Courts, Forest Lake, Wood Square (corner of 13th and McFarland Blvd.) all of 13th street, All of Kicker Road, the western side of 10th Street East, Alberta Business, Jaycee Park, Holt, Peterson, Fleetwood, Brookwood, Lake View and Aberrant. The other communities affected are in Jefferson County. All of these communities mostly don’t exist anymore. They are there in name only.

A number of dignitaries have been in town, I suppose for a photo op and we have had some famous people in town. Michael W. Smith (Singer) and Charlie Sheen (Actor) were here. Both were cordial, respectful; looking for no glamour and wanted to shake hands with nobody and just help out. This is something I expected from Mr. Smith but not from Mr. Sheen. I think perhaps he saw some light with his life after what he witnessed here. It is sobering, and let’s hopes so. Some would say when you see despair the human will come out of you.

In addition, Tuscaloosa received a C130 transport full of supplies from the military last Thursday.

I need to say something about the volunteer work in Tuscaloosa. If there is a community that aids their citizens better, I wouldn’t know who it would be. Tuscaloosa rates an A+++ for helping other people. Hours after the tornado they were out offering water to the victims… 2 hours!!! They are magnificent and other communities can take notice on what they do. Our EMS services, trash pickup have been destroyed but somehow they find a way. They coordinated through city hall and welcomed volunteers and donations from every state in the union and power companies from 18 states. I met some from North Carolina, Georgia and free tarp service on our house was done through the First Baptist Church and they were from Tallahassee. I believe the United Way, FEMA, all Churches coordinate through city hall. The coordination is fantastic.

One last note before I go to the business side. Change is a hard thing to comprehend. There is a lot of uncertainty; despite what anybody says, people will never be comfortable with it. You either do it yourself or it is trusted upon you. The people of Tuscaloosa have had it thrust on them. Years ago, my girlfriend had to do something different; something insignificant as I saw it, and she said, “I hate change”. I told her to move to a compound in Montana. My point is, change is part of it and you have to adjust. What happened on April 27th will always be with me and I may never recover from it. It hit me hard. I have some dead friends and acquired new ones on balance I feel I will win this one. But I would rather not, for the price is too high.

I will be reviewing emails for the next few days then I will be back on the business. I will be reviewing the investments we had made also. I hope Dean Hart has been keeping up on things. I have no opportunity to contact anybody except Russ Hopkins because he is local and it was on borrowed cell phone. PLEASE DON’T THINK I HAVE PERISHED, THAT WILL HURT ME MOST OF ALL!

One Final note: All of my life I have learned one thing in particular. I always try to learn from my experiences. I can say with 100% certainty, without a doubt that I didn’t learn one damn thing from this. I learned what anguish is and I learned how people die, but other that that- nothing. The only thing at work here is evil- pure evil. I don’t know what forces are at work here. Could be god, the devil or perhaps some bureaucrat with evangelical powers, I don’t know or care. The people of Tuscaloosa didn’t do anything to deserve this. But what I do know that the spirit this community has provided will show the forces that they will kick their ass anyway.


You are not IMMUNE!

Perhaps having the best insurance possible is acquiring foodstuffs, batteries, water etc., before a disaster is the best to have all of this on hand. One thing is for sure, no one is immune from a disaster and they can occur at anytime. Tornadoes, hurricanes, wild fires out west. True, they can be a once in a lifetime deal, but that doesn't make any difference to your family. They just know they need to survive and it is good that tha they have what they need instead of waiting for the government or charity to aid them which can take days.

Remember, you don't have to be a survivalist to survive.

The #1 insurance policy you can have

Purchase  your package and put it away, you will eventually need it!

This article was published on 19.06.2016 by Barry Evans
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