Dadeville Family Rebuilds After Deadly Tornado

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By Morgan Hightower

“All that silver, is our trailer.”

We first met Randy Yarbrough a year ago the day after a tornado took everything.

“All they had left was the clothes on their back.”

Yarbrough took refuge here at the Smith home.

The storm literally ripped through the house, throwing walls and splitting the foundation as easily as if it were made out of straw.

Few things were salvageable, but some, miraculously managed to be saved.

“The china, all that china, is in the china cabinet. Didn’t break but one glass,” explained homeowner Joe Smith.

The same cabinet is in the Smith's newly rebuilt home.

Much is different, but the basement, where the Smiths and Yarbrough took cover, hasn't changed.

“I grabbed Joyce and she didn't get halfway down the stairs when the roof flew off, it broke loose,” Yarbrough said.

“Joe was hanging in that door, not that door, the basement door, but it slammed on these three fingers but we couldn't find him,” said Joyce Smith.

“When it blew through it shut the door, and I had my hand like this and it had my fingers in the door and I couldn't get them loose...I don't know how I got it loose but I did and everything was falling on top of me,” said Joe Smith.

“He said that thing picked him up on his feet and he doesn't know how far he went up then all at once, he came down.”


“When I had seen that there was nothing left but the cross-ties that had been bent, you know, like a pretzel, we're talking about steel. I mean I just lost it…I really did,” explained Yarbrough.

He and Jerry Smith have rebuilt - they moved into this home a few months ago and after months of insurance claims, conversations with FEMA, and sleepless nights - they finally feel caught up.

“My life is back to normal, I feel like I have a place to stay now.”

“I'm thankful to have a home to come home to,” said Yarbrough.

Little reminders tell the story of what happened that April night - new construction replaces old family homes and small seedlings grow now where massive oaks once stood.

It’s a neighborhood with a new look and a family who after losing everything, has much to be thankful for.

Yarbrough says he's been approved for a storm shelter from FEMA and is just waiting for it to arrive.

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