SAWYERVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) — People living in Hale County now have a safe place to go next time severe weather strikes in Sawyerville. More than two months after an EF-3 tornado devastated the community, the town’s first ever storm shelter was installed Friday morning.
Susie Fields has lived in Sawyerville her entire life and is happy her community finally has a storm shelter where she and her family can go to be safe.
“Oh it’s wonderful and I am glad it’s happened and we’ve got a storm shelter here because we really did need one, because so many people have got hurt and houses destroyed and blown away and stuff and nobody would let us know about where to go for a tornado. And I am just glad it’s here,” Fields said.
The shelter was built and transported to Sawyerville Friday morning from Mississippi. It can hold as many as 100 people and can withstand 250 MPH wind speeds.
Eugene Tinker paid $50,000 for the shelter through his nonprofit organization “Positive is the way of life.” Tinker is an Atlanta businessman who grew up in Sawyerville and wants to give back to his community.
“We are in the process of getting more shelters and to be able to do that brings a light to my heart. And being from here and being able to give back is important. This can help save lives next time a tornado happens,” Tinker said.
Tinker says the storm shelter is ready and will be available starting this weekend. It’s located on Alabama Highway 14.