Families weathered the April 28th storm, face recovery together

Pictured above and below, groups of Sardis City High School students helped clear debris after a tornado struck the Smith’s Institute community near Sardis on April 28. An estimated 30 homes were destroyed and 130 damaged.Pictured above and below, groups of Sardis City High School students helped clear debris after a tornado struck the Smith’s Institute community near Sardis on April 28. An estimated 30 homes were destroyed and 130 damaged.

By Donna Thornton/News Editor

As weather predictions grew more dire on the night of April 28, Krystal Lightsey and her family — not having a basement in their Sand Valley home — decided to seek shelter with members of their extended family who did.

They left their home and went to the home of Krystal’s brother’s in-laws, on Roden Road in the Smith’s Institute community.

“We left our house at about 11:45 p.m.” Lightsey recalled.

As weather worsened and forecasts mapped its path in their director, Lightsey said 12 family members huddled in the basement.

After the storm raged past the home, they some property damage, but they found all family members unharmed.

In the days after the storm, Lightsey said it was very gratifying for her brother’s in-laws, the Hoopers, to see people stop by their home and ask if they needed help.

Hilary and Jacob Blackwood found some comfort too, in people who came by asking if they needed help after their home on Horton Gap Road was damaged and their barn destroyed by the storm.

They were at home, taking shelter in the bathroom with their 2-year-old son Jackson when the storm hit.

After the first damaging storm passed, Hilary Blackwood said they came out of the bathroom into the darkness, part of their roof gone, the wall of the garage blown out and water pouring into their home through the light fixtures.

She said her husband was outside, planning to check on neighbors when the second storm came through and he had to seek shelter again. Fortunately, though their neighbors also had damage no one was hurt.

Lightsey said the storm seemed to hit one house, skip two, then hit another, without pattern. She said the Hoopers are coping with the damage of the storm.

“It was just one of those awful things life throws at you,” she said.

“You just have to pick up the pieces and go on. That’s what they’re trying to do.

“We were just very blessed,” Lightsey said. “We’re all very thankful.”

The Blackwoods were thankful as well. As she boxed items up at her fractured home, Blackwood said she was glad to have things to box up, when so many people lost so much more.

“It’s hard for me to accept help,” she said, from the many church groups and other responders who came by to offer, “when I know so many other people need so much more.”

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