SAWYERVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) — Many in the Sawyerville community are still recovering after an EF-3 tornado devastated Hale County nearly two weeks ago on March 25.
Storm victim Darla Price says it was a scary experience. Price is a teacher and Director of Operations at the National Association for the Prevention of Starvation (NAPS), a Christian school in Sawyerville.
“When the tornado hit, we have a campus with young children, and we were prepared,” said Price. “We got our helmets, and we went to our wellness center on campus. And we went in there and we had two bathrooms and we gathered in these two bathrooms praying and singing.”
230 houses in Hale County were damaged and 43 of those were destroyed. Hale County EMA Director Russell Weeden says the county only has two community storm shelters. One is in a church in Greensboro and the other is in Newbern but he wants to build more.
“Our big push is to try to put a community storm shelter in each community,” said Weeden. “That would be about five community storm shelters so if we had a wish list that’s what we’d wish for. It would give people more places to go, who live in mobile homes and right now there’s really no place for them to go.”
Weeden says there hasn’t been any recent state funding to build community shelters. He is hoping FEMA will declare Hale County a disaster area so storm victims will get funding to help rebuild.
Darla Price says it will cost roughly $500,000 to rebuild damaged buildings on the NAPS campus. The nonprofit Christian ministry has an elementary school and a medical missionary training school on the Sawyerville campus.
“I remember the children saying our school is gone,” said Price. “You could see from where we were the roof was totally gone. Four of our houses on campus were destroyed. But these things, God has no trouble rebuilding, and already people have been coming in and helping us all they can and we have a lot more to do.”
The NAPS ministry travels all over the world to help victims in natural disasters, they also give food donations after tornados impact communities in the United States.