‘Don’t see how anyone survived’Published 7:00pm Friday, December 28, 2012
Gov. Bentley visits with tornado survivors in Pike County
Quavia Cummings stood back and quietly watched as Gov. Robert Bentley walked up the debris littered driveway to Brantley Mobile Home Park on Friday afternoon.
Three days earlier, Cummings had hid in a closet to survive what he said was one of the scariest moments of his life – when an EF-2 tornado passed over his home.
“It was scary. When it was all over, I tried to get out of the house, but I couldn’t. I called 911 for help. When I got out, I was just so happy I got out with my life.”
On Friday, Cummings and other tornado survivors met Alabama’s governor face to face.
“I don’t see how anyone survived this. I am glad you are OK,” Bentley said, resting a reassuring hand on Cummings shoulder before hearing the young man’s story.
“When you look at that house up there,” Bentley said, pointing to Cummings’ home. “You wonder how he did survive that. I personally think God looks after us. We are just so glad that people did survive this and that there were no serious injuries.”
Cummings said he was proud to meet Bentley and was reassured by his visit.
“It was good that he came out and checked on us and let us know that somebody was out there who cared about us and made sure we were OK,” Cummings said.
- CLICK HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO OF THE GOVERNOR’S VISIT.
- CLICK HERE TO SEE A PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE GOVERNOR’S VISIT.
- CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE ACCOUNTS FROM SURVIVORS.
Bentley was accompanied on the tour of the damage sustained in Pike County by Sen. Bryan Taylor and local officials.
“It’s always a surprise to see the destructive force of a tornado,” Taylor said, surveying the damage at Brantley Mobile Home Park. “This goes to show how unsafe it is to be in a storm in a mobile home.”
Taylor said he feels it is important for Alabama to look at how to make storm shelters more available to people during severe weather.
“Every time you see something like this you think, ‘Where did all these people have to go?” Taylor said. “It is incredibly fortunate that everyone who was out here was able to survive something like this.”
Bentley and the others also made their way through the Goshen area, stopping first to visit the family of Debi and Clark Coggins who were injured in the storm when their singlewide mobile home disintegrated as it was picked up by the tornado and rolled into the woods.
When the caravan arrived at the site of where the Coggins home used to be on County Road 2214, members of the Coggins family had good news to share.
“They are coming home today,” said Andrew Coggins, Clark and Debi’s nephew.
“They’ll be staying with me in Luverne,” added David Coggins, Clark’s brother.
Clark had suffered the most severe injuries in Pike County as a result of the tornado and was being treated at Baptist South Hospital until Friday.
Bentley also stopped to visit the Hinton family, only a short distance from where the Coggins family was cleaning up from the destructive tornado.
The family said they did not have insurance, but Bentley presented a few options, including a low-interest, easy to obtain small business loan and the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund.
“We have other ways of getting help to people who need it,” Bentley said. “The important thing is to talk to local officials so they know you need help. The Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund is active. It’s a way to help families who don’t have any other form of help.”
Gov. Bentley said anyone who would like to donate to the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund may do so through the United Way.