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Raw Chatter

They have seemingly put their lives back in place. But it's taken many of them nearly a year to get to this point.

Of course, I'm speaking of the lives of those affected by last year's tornado that disrupted the lives of dozens of families in McDuffie and Warren counties last March 1.

Even though the tornado, which hit a portion of the Hickory Hills subdivision, tore through homes and toppled many large trees, there was no loss of lives and no serious injuries in either McDuffie or Warren counties. We can be grateful to God that He spared us all from such grief.

As a reporter covering the aftermath and still writing news stories weeks later, I shall never forget the tornado that first hit homes in Warren County, off the Warrenton Highway and then made a path across the campus of Briarwood Academy, Pylant Crossing and the Mesena Road before striking the city limits subdivision in Thomson.

The tornado continued to cut a path across portions of Martin Luther King Jr. Street and along the Cobbham Road, crumbling wood-frame homes along the way and causing significant damages to New Hope Baptist Church.

The sights reminded me of other major storms that I have covered as a reporter. Those were Hurricane Hugo in Charleston, S.C. and Hurricane Andrew in Homestead, Fla.

The last time I covered anything close to being like a tornado in Thomson was when a micro-burst hit a neighborhood around the Thomson Presbyterian Church off the Wrens Highway several years ago.

Although that particular storm caused lots of damage, it didn't compare to the tornado damages.

Both McDuffie and Warren counties later were declared disaster areas by President Bush, allowing residents and businesses to receive federal funds to help them rebuild.

I remember officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency setting up a relief site at Sweetwater Park near Thomson.

There were so many officials and volunteers such as those who work with American Red Cross there to help families misplaced. It was a welcomed sight to see local residents - many of whom I've known for years - getting the help that they so desperately needed.

I applaud our local officials till this day and the many unsung heroes that came to the aid of their fellow man in a real time of need. Their faces and names I shall always remember.

It's people like them that help to make McDuffie and Warren counties truly great places to work and raise families.

I hope and pray that the residents of both counties never have to endure anything of that magnitude again. And I thank God for sparing the lives of many who easily could have been killed in last year's tornado.



Web posted on Thursday, March 06, 2008













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