Autauga Co. Tornado Survivor Talks About Road to Recovery 3 Years Later

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By Ellis Eskew

Three years ago an EF-3 tornado hit Autauga County killing three people.

One of the survivors in the Boone Chapel community was Jessie Mitchell, better known as "Miss Tunnie."

Miss Tunnie shows us what's left of former home on County Road 94 after it was hit by a tornado April 15, 2011.
The high winds destroyed her mobile home, killed her beloved dog,  and flung her 65 feet away.

"My back was broken 8 places. I have 200 stitches in my stomach. Two months ago, my hip was crushed, so had surgery on the hip," said Tunnie.

The 74 year old retired state trooper's journey to recovery has been a long one.
But she's had good friends help her along the way.

"She's come a long way since she's been back because when  we first found her she could hardly walk. She was in a wheelchair. Now that she's walking without a cane, she's just a miracle," said friend Vera Shivers.

Miss Tunnie has been through 5 surgeries just this past year and will have another one on her foot next week.
But she will be the first to tell you she's not letting it keep her spirit down.

"I'm doing good. I'm not crying because I'm sad. I'm crying because I'm happy," said Tunnie.

Now Miss Tunnie lives in a home built behind her former one.
And although the winds may come, she says she has no fear for what they can do.

"Like I said, I've been through the storms, so I don't have to worry about it coming again. If it does, I'm out of here, ain't nothing I can do about it," said Tunnie.
 

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