“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” Helen Keller
The image above was taken one year ago, the day after nearly 300 tornadoes took hundreds of lives and damaged thousands of homes across the south. In the small town of Phil Campbell, Alexis Adams stood in disbelief alongside her dad Jimmy. The home she knew and neighborhood she played in was now very unfamiliar to her. I can’t imagine what was going through her mind when I took this photo and how scared she was the night before when her and her father, mother Michelle, and brothers Hunter and baby Levi huddled together in the narrow hallway of their home.
I remember when I first met Jimmy and his daughter that day. After everything they had just been through, Jimmy was in good spirits. The smile on his face brought tears to my eyes. I believe he was just happy he and his family were alive. It’s this strong will to overcome that got them through that day and the hardest year of their lives. To overcome is to start over by rebuilding hearts and homes. Today I’m sharing images of how a family and a community are doing just that.
It's so wonderful to see her smiling!
Alexis in her bedroom! I love how the peace signs bring peace to her new space.
Hunter loves Alabama football and he loves spending time in his awesome room.
Hunter, Alexis and Levi. Precious!
Levi in his new John Deere Tractor themed room
A new kitchen brings new memories around the dinner table
Loving their new bikes!
New additions to the Adams family
Michelle shares a scrapbook made by the church volunteers who helped them build and decorate their home.
Jimmy building a new back deck
I think the world of this family and I am so grateful to have met them! I'm thankful to you Jimmy, Michelle, Alexis, Hunter and Levi for letting me and my camera into your beautiful world and your brand new home!
Just as the Adams have started over and rebuilt their lives, the towns of Phil Campbell and Hackleburg Alabama are trying to do the same. A new memorial is being built in downtown Phil Campbell to honor the tornado victims and survivors. The monument is under wraps but will be unveiled Saturday April 28th.
The new playground
I found along my drive that there are still yards without homes. I hope the neighborhoods can be full again one day soon.
Home is where the heart is. I got chills when I saw this almost heart-shaped cloud hovering above where a home once stood
New tornado shelter
Many residents are living in temporary campers until the building of their home can take place. This lady in Hackleburg still takes pride in the place she calls home.
New homes = new start!
I was fortunate enough to meet this wonderful group of people from the Elizabethtown Mission Team. They are doing everything in their power to rebuild the community with 100% of their hearts leading the way.
Today I remember those lost and those who found their way home.