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Tornado victims count selves lucky

Last week’s weather events could have ended up with much more tragedy.  That no one lost their lives or were even seriously hurt–other than the rattling of nerves–is truly a blessing.

If you are one of those that ventured out on Monticello, James and Perrett Roads outside of Hazlehurst on Thursday morning, like myself you were completely amazed at what was left behind after an EF2 tornado tore a 4 mile swath through the area early that morning.  Stately old oaks, many of which appeared to be at least 100 years of age, were toppled like dominoes.  Many more were snapped or twisted off half way up their trunks.  Cedar trees were done much the same way.

Property-wise, a barn, an auto repair shop and a chicken house were destroyed.  Homes near the path of the twister sustained some damage, with the most being done to that of Lyn and June Hutcherson’s on Monticello Road.  Amazingly, no homes were destroyed although many large trees were toppled nearby.

Metal roofing from the Hutcherson’s shop and from the Ramsey’s barn on Monticello Road looks like someone hand-molded the pieces to fit perfectly around fence posts and trees, and was literally blown 1/4 to 1/2 mile across the pasture into the tops of trees in the nearby woods.

All of it lasted only a few seconds, according to those who experienced it.  Each one of the human beings affected–our friends, our family members, our neighbors, our home-folks–consider themselves lucky, and blessed.  As Mr. Hutcherson said to me Thursday morning, “All of this stuff can be repaired or replaced.  A life lost can not.”

Human nature is such when events like this happen.  Even those in Haiti, whose lives have been turned upside down by the recent earthquakes, consider themselves blessed.  I’ve even heard on a recent radio program that, even though they lost family and friends in the earthquake, workers at a factory in Haiti that produces leather goods showed up for work the following day.  The spokesman for the company said that the workers proved that wounds will be healed and life will go on.

The aftermath of such memorable events shows that regardless of how different we are as humans, most of us share the same beliefs that life is good, people are precious and that the realization of our blessings is a blessing in and of itself.

Joe B. Coates

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