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If you missed part one, click here.
I came to Cullman as part of a group from Crosspoint Church in Nashville. We arrived at our intended location for the day, a neighborhood on 4th Street SE just east of 4th Avenue SE.
I had seen damage like this before in parts of Missouri hit by tornadoes but it still makes your heart sink to see things like this:
You can see the twister’s path through this area. I heard it was an EF-3 tornado. The box van you see is Crosspoint’s “Mobile Hope Center” which was filled with tools like chainsaws, wheelbarrows, etc. along with tons of bottled water for residents.
When you go into a neighborhood that was hit as severely as this one, you almost have the feeling of “where do I start?” There’s just so much to do.
The moment we hit town, I felt God prodding my heart about something. My BlackBerry from Verizon had four bars and streamed internet quickly so I did a search for what I kept having pop into my head. It turns out the subject of my mind’s eye was only four blocks from where we were standing. (Yes, I’m being vague for a reason. You’ll find out why in part 3.)
So I started walking up 4th Street toward my destination. The National Guard guys were great as I walked past them and were genuinely interested in helping the people there. I didn’t get their names but whoever the Guard had stationed in the morning at 4th Street SE and 4th Avenue SE represented the Guard well!
4th Street down to 1st Avenue SE was devastated. It was part of a four square block area that’s going to be just about wiped out because buildings are just unsafe.
A clear blue sky and incredible damage. I was standing next to a National Guard documentarian when I snapped this who just said “wow.”
The Methodist Church with severe damage. Note the dude on the roof…they were doing all they could to get a roof back on the building.
I just hope whoever rented this van bought the insurance at the time of rental:
This place basically took a direct hit:
Here’s the same building from the side where you can see how the second floor pancaked much of the first.
OK…this next picture will probably give you the same chills I had after someone told me what happened.
In the picture below, you will see a building that obviously took a direct hit. Next to it, a pile of rubble. I learned that pile of rubble was a two story building.
Inside that building was a woman whose husband had recently left her and her child. She had moved into the building to start her life over. She had a photography business on the first floor. She lived on the second floor.
As the storm rolled in, she felt like she needed to go to the basement. You see, the building was once a bank and there was a bank vault still in the basement. She went down with her daughter and closed the vault door. Her daughter asked if she had to do that…and the woman told her that for some reason she felt like she had to close the door.
A minute later the tornado took the building.
The woman and her daughter survived unscathed but have lost everything because they just moved in and had no insurance.
Here’s another shot past the building in the last photo. I don’t know what those building housed because there’s nothing left to identify them.
Here’s a shot looking eastward on 4th Street SE after I reached 1st Avenue SE:
Next up in part 3…the prodding on my heart obvious was God calling me to where He needed me today…