Three months after an EF3 tornado touched down in Appomattox county, the buildings are being repaired, but the natural disaster is still etched in the minds of those who lived through it.
After tragic weather events such as tornadoes, the community often gets nervous whenever any storm moves towards their area. The anxiety often triggers them to ask “could this be another tornado?”
Several events too place Tuesday aimed to ease the nerves of parents and children.
At Evergreen Baptist Church, the first Bible School following the tornado is underway. Throughout the week, children have been collecting money for God’s Pit Crew, the same organization that helped them out when the community was in need. The money will be used to generate “Blessing Buckets” to be used in future natural disasters.
Not only is this year’s Bible School a way to pay it forward, but as Kristi Harris, one of the youth leaders at Evergreen Baptist put it, a way for the youth to heal.
“When times come up, like we had a bad storm not too long ago, and when the kids get scared we just say to them, you’re going to be OK, we’re here with you.”
Just down the road, at the Appomattox Community Center, several dozen residents gathered Tuesday night to learn about the rare February 24th tornado and its impact on the community.
Phil Hysell a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Blacksburg was joined by members of Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Together, they discussed the importance of being weather aware, and the likelihood of future severe weather events.
“After you’ve been through an event like this you become more sensitive, says Hysell.” “We want to talk about the facts and what to do and where to go if this ever happens again, so there’s a positive outcome.”
One man was killed in the Evergreen community during the February EF3 tornado. Edward K. Harris, 78, was thrown from his mobile home when the tornado struck. His wife was among seven people injured in Appomattox during the storm.
Recognizing the importance of learning about severe weather safety is the first step.
George Breeden brought his girls to the presentation. His family moved to the area last year. While the tornado lifted just a few miles before it reached their home, Breeden isn’t taking any chances. He wants his daughters to know just what to do if it were to ever happen again.
“We’d seen some people in the community that suffered a bit harder, say Breeden.” “Yes, we want to learn and let them learn. It doesn’t hurt to get extra knowledge on anything.”
The Small Business Administration was also on-hand to offer low interest loans for those in need.
Tuesday’s presentation by the National Weather Service was a step toward making Appomattox County at “StormReady Community,”
By Meteorologist Brent Watts | Posted: Tue 11:34 PM, Jun 14, 2016