BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As first responders continue to look for survivors in the Lee County tornado, the grandfather of one of the 23 victims is thankful some of his family members were spared.
Bobby Kidd told CBS 42 that his grandson, 6-year-old Armando Hernandez Jr. was found dead Sunday night. Kidd said the energetic boy was known to all as “AJ.”
The boy was sheltered in a closet with his 10-year-old brother, Jordan, and their father, Steven, when the tornado hit.
“He grabbed the boys and was holding them. He said he could feel his ears start popping. The house exploded and the force of the tornado snatched both the kids away from them,” Kidd said.
AJ’s body was later found by officials, Kidd said. AJ’s brother, Jordan Griffin, is recovering at Children’s of Alabama. Steven Griffin is recovering at UAB hospital.
“This morning Steven was able to go by wheelchair over to see Jordan, right now they are both stable,” Kidd said.
Through tears, Kidd expressed sorrow for other families in the small Beauregard community who also have lost loved ones.
“When we were at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika last night, the hospital was so crowded and even in a time of tragedy, everybody was badning together and praying for each other. We saw friends that had lost loved ones and they took time to pray for us, and we just want them to know that we’ve lifted them up too. We are praying for everybody in our community,” Kidd.
The grandfather told CBS 42 that the family is moved by condolences received by strangers across the country. They continue to ask for prayers for loved ones in the hospital and other families impacted by the tonado.
Kidd described his grandson as an energetic 6-year-old.
“He kept a smile on his face all the time. He neer met a stranger and he loved everybody. AJ loved his brother more than anything,” said Kidd.
The grandfather tells CBS 42 that he will always cherish their final memory together. Two days before the storm, Kidd was able to watch his grandson sing as part of a school performance. The sweet moment is forever on his phone as a video memory.
“I was lucky enough to be off work and I got to go see it. And I thank god that he gave me that opportunity because it was the last few mintues that we got to spend with him just me and him,” said Kidd.
According to Kidd, AJ’s brother and father could be released from hospitals this week. The family asks for continued prayers for everyone impacted.