Deaf couple tell story of survival

Published: May. 5, 2011 at 2:21 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 4, 2011 at 10:28 PM CDT
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Most times, people describe a tornado by saying it sounded like a train coming, but what if you couldn't hear that train or hear at all?

That's what one Athens couple dealt with as a tornado tore through their home.

For Tim and Brenda Smith, the peak of the tornado outbreak was silent.

"The power wasn't on. We really didn't have any way of knowing what was happening so I thought I'm just going to keep my eyes on this storm," said Tim Smith.

His other senses told him something was headed their way. Both Tim and Brenda happen to be deaf.

"I looked out this window and noticed that it was still black. I saw all this lightening and everything and I watched it as it moved," continued Tim.

With the help of an interpreter, Tim and Brenda describe how they ran into a closet as a tornado ripped through their home.

"We got down and it was just very, very fast, we could feel the whole house shaking."

It took less than 15 minutes for the entire roof to come off.
In the aftermath, Brenda says her emotions turned from fear to anger.

"I was talking to God, why did it have to happen to my house, why?"

They both say they've moved past the why and are focused on the now.

They realize everyday is challenge but they'll continue to face it.
"They can hear the weather, they can hear the warnings and so forth. But, deaf people, if they are asleep during the night they won't hear it. That's one thing about it that is rough."

Tim and Brenda have spent the past few days salvaging what they can.

They're now living with their daughter who lives a mile away.

The interpreter works for the Alabama Institute For The Deaf and Blind.

If you know a friend or neighbor who is deaf or blind and they need assistance, contact the Institute at 256-539-7881.

Copyright 2011 WAFF. All rights reserved.