TOWN CREEK, Ala. (WAFF) - One year ago today, a small-knit community’s entire world turned upside down.
December 16th, 2019, an EF-2 tornado ripped across County Road 265, also known as Blue Hollow Road, in Lawrence County.
Three people were killed in that tornado and several others were injured.
Wednesday, WAFF 48 News’ Jenna Rae talked to first responders who were there that night.
“When you called and said’ hey you know it’s been a year’ and I was just like all those emotions and feelings come back,” Scott Norwood said.
Norwood, the Lawrence County Coroner and Courtland Fire Chief, was one of the first to respond to the EF-2 Tornado.
Norwood and dozens of other responders dug through the rubble for hours.
“That was a sad night because I knew both of the victims. I had known Chase’s grandmother, I grew up one house down from her and Keisha, I had known her for several years,” Norwood explained.
Chase and Keisha Godsey were killed in that tornado. They’re survived by their son Landen.
”When I first laid eyes on him as a paramedic of 25 years, I was like, ‘that kid is not gonna make it.’ But God proved me wrong,” Norwood continued.
Wayne Lovett, a third victim, also died several months later. Family members say he never recovered from his injuries.
”It just does not seem real, it doesn’t seem real, especially the time frame,” Town Creek Police Chief Jerry Garrett explained.
Garrett says that night and the days following the disaster, showed true togetherness.
”We had so many people to respond, not even from our area but with our area that came together. They came together right here, sorry. It’s still fresh,” Garrett said.
It’s fresh for first responders and also still fresh for those who lived through that night.
While damage remains, hope still lingers as well.
Weeks later, county and city officials made it their mission to avoid this in future.
“We have a new app in Lawrence County, it’s through the EMA, emergency management agency,” Norwood said.
The app is designed to alert you during severe weather and when to take shelter.
”You need to go ahead and go when you feel that threat. That feel, that gut feeling is there for a reason, trust that,” Garrett explained.
Norwood and Garrett want to remind everyone that being weather-aware and prepared for severe weather could save your life.