Gudger seeks help for victims of Lawrence County tornado

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Scenes of devastation from the Dec. 16, 2019 tornado in the Town Creek community of Lawrence County (Photos courtesy of Garlan Gudger)

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. – On Thursday morning, Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman returned to portions of his legislative district in Lawrence County to survey damage in the areas of Town Creek and Courtland caused by an EF-2 tornado Monday night, Dec. 16. A day earlier, the senator addressed the Cullman County Mayors and Commissioners Association with an urgent request for help in supporting both short-term and long-term recovery efforts.

Three households in Town Creek were devastated, and Gudger is working with Rep. Proncey Robertson, R-Mount Hope; Rep. Andrew Sorrell, R-Muscle Shoals; the Lawrence County Commission and other entities to help with both the immediate recovery and long-term needs.

  • Two parents died, leaving behind an 8-year-old boy who is in critical care at a Birmingham hospital. The boy was found approximately 200 yards from the site of his home with his parents wrapped around him protecting him. Rock the South is covering the parents’ funeral costs. Wallace State Community College has offered a two-year scholarship for the boy when he reaches age 17, and the University of Alabama system has offered a transfer scholarship that will allow the boy to complete his college education at the University of Alabama, UAB or UAH.
  • A couple in their 60s, who lost their home to a fire four months ago, lost the new mobile home it had only recently set up and was still finishing. The couple remains in intensive care in Birmingham.  
  • A single victim in his 40s remains in intensive care in a Huntsville hospital. The victim is disabled and, according to a relative, lost everything he owned.

 

Gudger is working with the Alabama Manufactured Housing Association Foundation to secure replacement homes for the older couple and single resident, possibly at no cost.

Gudger did note, “But it will cost money to reinstall sewer, water, foundation, landscaping and power.”

The senator also hopes to raise at least $20,000 in cash donations for each family to help with the costs of starting over, along with gathering material resources to meet immediate needs. Those resources will be delivered to and distributed from the Church of Christ Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen (locally known as “The Kitchen”) in Moulton.

Gudger told The Tribune, “Multiple good-hearted people and corporations are continuously donating to make their financial recovery easier after they hopefully return from the hospital, having to pay medical expenses and physical therapy.”

He requested of the mayors and commissioners, “If there’s any extra funds not only you, your communities, can give, we’re trying to raise some money for all of that, and it’s going to the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce. If there’s any items to drop off, we’re going to the soup kitchen to drop those off.

“We’re thankful that we didn’t get hit, but our neighbors did. We remember what it was like on April 27, 2011. This young man is (8) years old, and his whole life has been turned upside down, so if there’s anything you can give, whether it’s $20 or $500, we sure would appreciate it.”

Mayor Woody Jacobs was the first official in attendance to respond, promising resources from the City of Cullman.

Get involved

If you would like to donate to the recovery effort, make checks out to:

Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce: Disaster Relief

and mail to:

Senator Garlan Gudger

314 Second Ave. SE, Cullman, AL 35055 

Donations are tax-deductible.

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Garlan Gudger
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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com