Now is the time to help those who’ve lost so much

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, December 27, 2012

My husband and I were returning from a trip to visit his family in Montgomery on Christmas night and passed by Brantley Mobile Home Park about five minutes before the tornado tore through homes there.

The car slid from side to side as wind blew hard against traffic. I prayed. We made it home safely while tornado sirens began to blare.

I can’t imagine what it would feel like if we had not been so lucky.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The National Weather Service has reported that two people were injured by tornadoes in Central Alabama on Christmas night – both of those injuries occurred in Pike County.

Debi and Clark Coggins were inside a singlewide mobile home on County Road 11 when an EF-2 tornado ripped through the Goshen area. The NWS released information about the horrific night the Coggins family survived.

After surveying the damage on Wednesday, the NWS representatives in the area said the Coggins’ home was ripped out of the ground and rolled 75 yards into a wooded area, leaving the wooden post porch intact. The home fell apart as it rolled, leaving a trail of debris to the woods where the frame of the home split in two and wrapped around trees.

It could be called a miracle they survived, but both Debi and Clark Coggins were injured on top of losing their home and belongings.

Clark Coggins, according to family friends, remains in the Baptist South Hospital recovering from the terrifying event.

It is hard to imagine what today would be like if I had not made it safely home Tuesday night and my husband were in the hospital. I am sure I would feel grateful we were both alive, but the added stress of what to do and where to go after the hospital must be a heavy weight for the Coggins family.

Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union is now accepting monetary gifts for Debi and Clark Coggins. Any teller at the Troy branch can accept donations. Checks should be made payable to Deborah B. Coggins.

And while money is needed by the family, the community is also welcome to gift other items.

Melissa Ingram at the Board of Registrars office has volunteered to collect donations. Items may be brought to the Board of Registrars Office at the Pike County Courthouse, or she will pick them up. Ingram will also soon know clothing sizes and will be able to provide that information to anyone who calls her at 566-1757.

In addition to the fund set up for the Coggins family, the Red Cross and Salvation Army both report cash donations are most effective and they are accepting monetary donations to help tornado victims. People wishing to donate other items should contact the organizations directly to see what in-kind donations might be accepted.

The Coggins family, like many others in Pike County, lost so much on Christmas night. It’s a good time for us to keep the giving spirit of Christmas in our hearts and help where and when we can.