Community prevails after church in Ohatchee is destroyed by tornado

“I think we’ll come out of it stronger than we were before,” said the Ragan Chapel United Methodist Church Pastor

Community prevails after church in Ohatchee is destroyed by tornado

OHATCHEE, Ala. (WAFF) - Devastation and destruction hit Ragan Chapel after deadly tornado ripped through this small but close knit community.

Five people died in the storm, and many buildings were destroyed. One of those buildings is Ragan Chapel United Methodist Church.

People say it has been a vital part of the community since the 1800s.

Michael Dunbar is a local disaster relief coordinator. He came to lend a hand as soon as he heard of the devastation.

“I don’t think of the buildings. I saw the damage of the buildings but I thought of the people. How are they doing? They’re looking at their graveyard over there, their family grave stones all knocked over,” Dunbar said.

Danny Poss is the pastor at Ragan Chapel United Methodist Church.

“When I pulled up and I couldn’t even tell what part of the church was what I just - my heart just sank,” Poss said.

Since the building is so old, Poss says they could not get affordable insurance.

“Pretty much as far as building our building back we’re gonna be on our own. So, we’re gonna be dependent on donations and the generosity of others,” Poss said.

One thing did not move, despite the storm - a painting of the last supper.

Poss says it’s a sign of hope.

“When I walked around the corner and everything just totally destroyed but that picture was hanging there in tact was just really something,” Poss said.

Poss says although the building is gone, the church community is here to stay. They even plan to have a Palm Sunday service on the property.

“I think we’ll come out of it stronger than we were before,” Poss said.

One resident took shelter in the church as the walls ripped off in the storm, and says it’s a miracle he survived.

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