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Phil Campbell plans tornado memorial

By Nicole Burns

For the FCT

It’s hard for many Franklin County residents to believe it’s been nearly five years since the storm of the century ripped through the area, killing 27 members of our families and neighbors.

The town of Phil Campbell was one of the worst areas hit. The city plans a special ceremony to remember those lost and celebrate the recovery that’s been made.

“We can’t have an event without remembering and paying tribute to those souls that were lost in the April 27, 2011, storms. We miss them,” said Phil Campbell Mayor Steve Bell. “But we also want to take a look around at how many people rushed to our rescue and helped us get back on our feet. We want to show our gratitude.”

The town of Phil Campbell will host a special program called, “Five Years Later, Recovery, Celebration, and Remembrance” April 27 at 6 p.m. at the Phil Campbell High School football stadium. Families will release balloons as each name of those lost are read aloud. The PCHS band and the NWSCC Chorale are also scheduled to perform.

Bell plans to address the community in a State of the City address while recognizing local and state dignitaries in attendance. “We have hundreds of local and state fire departments, first responders, paramedics and law enforcement agencies – not to mention the volunteers – who we would love to recognize and honor for their help that day and the grueling days that followed,” said Bell.

Hundreds of volunteers from around the country flooded into Franklin County in the days after the tornado to help clean up, feed and rebuild the families who were left with nothing more than a pile of broken things that looked somewhat familiar. “While none of us can ever repay their kindness and generosity, we would like to recognize their service,” said Bell.

The public is encouraged to attend the service. There will be plenty of parking available at the high school campus, and in the case of rain, the ceremony will be moved to the PCHS gymnasium.

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