LEE COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - A Lee County mother recalls the terrifying moments that tornado destroyed her family’s home and changed their lives forever. Shamel Hart is trying to help her family heal just a day after burying her son and niece who died in the devastating March 3 tornadoes.
“The house just started shaking,” said Hart.
A matter of minutes changed everything.
“The floor was snatched from under us, and we were all just kind of in the air,” she recalled.
Shamel Hart’s first reaction after a tornado ripped through her cousin’s home in Beauregard was to search the debris for her sons Jonathan and Jalen.
She spotted 12-year-old Jalen first.
“He was standing over Jonathan,” she said. “He was saying, ‘My brother’s not moving.’”
Hart, her son and other relatives took shelter from another tornado before finally calling for help.
Her 9-year-old Jonathan was taken to East Alabama Medical Center where he fought for his life after suffering blunt force trauma.
“The louder I started cry and and screaming, the harder he was trying to push,” Hart remembered.
It’s a fight Hart couldn’t bear to watch, saying she wanted her son’s final moments to be as peaceful as possible.
“I told him to just let go and I love him and I’m going to miss him,” she said.
The days following that goodbye have been hard.
“It’s been ups and downs,” Hart said.
She’s staying here as she focuses on remembering Jonathan and being there for Jalen.
“I try to stay strong for him,” said Hart.
She gets by with faith and support from a loving community.
Hart said a number of tornado victims are staying at the La Quinta in Opelika. She said there are so many people that people have been bringing donations to the hotel.