Father of 15-year-old storm victim revisits home

MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - On this Mother's Day a father and grandfather share their heartfelt memories.

Last week WAFF 48 News talked with Cheryl Fitzgerald. She lost her husband, Butch Fitzgerald, in a tornado that moved across Orville Smith Road in Madison County.

Cheryl's granddaughter, Katie Cornwell, also died while trying to take cover in the same home.

Her father and his dad returned Sunday evening, one day after burying Katie.

"It's a difficult walk, you wake up every morning expecting to hear her voice, expecting to see her face, and it's just not there," said Craig Cornwell.

This weekend Cornwell made another difficult walk. He took his father Chuck who's from Toledo, Ohio, through the damage for the first time.

"It past in front of me on the road," said Craig.

Craig called his father later that night.

"He called us and started talking about what had happened, and said that two of our grand children are in the hospital, and there was a silence for a minute, and he said Katie had passed," said Chuck Cornwell.

Katie was a ninth grader who had just been accepted into Sparkman High School's Medical Academy.

"I didn't know how many hearts were touched by Katie," said Craig.

Her father said she loved to dance, loved her Girl Scout Troop 1257, and love to help anyone she could.

"Katelyn was a beautiful girl, she was so full of life and so active, she always had a smile on her face," said Craig.

Two crosses are now in place in front of the home. One for Katie, and the other for her grandfather Butch Fitzgerald.

"She was grandpa's little girl, she loved to go over there and spend time," said Craig.

"It's so sad, so devastating. We love all of our grand children, and you hate to see this happen to any of them," added Chuck.

"She's in our heart and always will be," said Cornwell.

The Katie Cornwell Memorial Fund has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank by her fellow girl scouts.

Craig and his family said they are so appreciative for the outpouring of support they've received.

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