Branch Heights residents thankful for surviving 2022 tornado

The residents, staff, volunteers and supporters of the Housing Authority of Greene County held a community celebration expressing appreciation for surviving a devastating tornado that hit the Branch Heights community on April 13, 2022, miraculously resulting with no reported deaths or physical injuries.  Housing Authority Director, Mrs. Anita Lewis welcomed the gathering and presented Housing Authority Commissioner Spiver Gordon for the invocation.

    Mrs. Lewis stated that more than 40 homes were affected by the 2022 tornado, many with major damages, some having to be rebuilt. “More than 100 people were made homeless by that storm, but we we were in God’s hands for all the lives in our community were spared,” she said. Mrs. Lewis praised the residents, her staff and all the volunteers who came together to address the various challenges from that storm.  “So many helped to provide shelter, food, clothing and other necessities for those displaced by the tornado, and we can’t thank them enough. We are still in recovery mode, but we are moving forward,”she said.

    Several residents shared stories of their harrowing experiences when the tornado hit.  Mrs. Dale Lanier said she heard the train sound and the next moment she was trapped in her bedroom when her roof and wall collapsed, yet she walked away shaken but unhurt.  Ms. Connie Tyree said she still cannot erase the terrible feeling she experienced when her entire house shook and her air conditioner unit flew into the house, landing inches from her.  Mrs. Joyce Cotton revealed that she is certain it was the Lord who awaken her and her husband directing them to move to a safer location in the house, just when the storm was about to hit.  Ms. Dorothy Beverly stated that by the grace of God, she was not in her house when the tornado hit it.

    Following the testimonies and expressions of thanksgiving, the gathering, led by Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. Decharo Rice, released dozens of white balloons, in celebration of life, outside the Branch Heights Community Center. Refreshments were provided for all attendees, including homemade cookies by Mrs. Lanier.