OHATCHEE, Ala. (WIAT) — Surrounded by downed power lines and broken homes, people in the Ohatchee community are slowly picking up the pieces of their lives following a tornado that tore through the area Thursday.
The next day proved to be an emotional one for the small Calhoun County community, where five people died during the storms. Homeowners that survived the storm say their thankful to be alive and they’ve been overwhelmed with support from family and friends.
“People can’t be replaced, material stuff can, so that’s the biggest thing,” resident Nathan Magourick said.
Magourick said he is one of the lucky ones who survived the storm.
“I just have to thank the good Lord for getting us through this. It’s a pretty big mess, but no one got hurt and that’s the biggest thing,” he said.
The Magouricks’ home of 15 years suffered significant damage from the storm.
“I have a mess here to clean up. Bunch of tress, a bunch of stuff on the pasture I need to clean off today,” he said. “It’s just staying busy for the most part.”
To help support homeowners like Magourick, the Calhoun County EMA is working to gain federal assistance.
“Working with our state partners on what it would look like to try to get a federal declaration for us, so we’re starting that process as we speak,” said Myles Chamblee, emergency manager with the Calhoun County EMA.
Chamblee said the agency could potentially receive up to $470,000, but until the receive the funds, the EMA is helping support victims through donation sites.
“If you’re looking to donate to Calhoun County, we ask that you take it to the Calhoun County Agriculture Center that’s in Anniston. It’s a little bit outside of the impacted area. There’s plenty of room to accept all of your donations, take inventory, and then take it out to the families that need it,” said Tiffany DeBoer of the Calhoun County EMA.