Rebuilding After The Storm: Remembering The 2011 Tornado Outbreak


By Amanda Wade

For one Elmore County church, this is the first time they are spending the anniversary of the 2011 deadly tornadoes in their new building, after those tornadoes completely destroyed their church. 

Members of Mt. Hebron East Baptist Church say this year, they are celebrating their homecoming, after their 115 year old church was demolished in seconds when a tornado ran through it, "We're going to celebrate today. And meet some friends that helped us rebuild, and have a big dinner and just enjoy the afternoon. And try to put the tornado behind us, you know," says congregation member, Denny Winn. 
For many people in the county, like Jo Hart, the tragedy is still fresh, "It was a sad, sad situation to try to get outside and look and everything you've worked for all your life is gone. Nothing's there."
Clara and Jessie Sides, whose home was damaged in the storms, add, "I felt something brushing against my legs, and I looked down there, and it was leaves. I told her, I said, 'we in trouble.' So, went outside and the roof was gone," Clara Sides adds, "Had he been still outside five minutes more, he would not be here."
But what everyone remembers most is how people came together to rebuild, "One weekend when we framed all the buildings in, we had 30 something from that church and 30 something here from our county from churches all working together," says Mt. Hebron East Baptist Pastor, Bob Williamson. 
It took the families we spoke to to at least six months to rebuild. 
The evidence of the devastation can still be seen in some of their backyards.