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Lee County sheriff remembers Beauregard tornado a year later

Sheriff Jones says the victims and their families will never be forgotten.
Sheriff Jones says the victims and their families will never be forgotten.((Source: WSFA 12 News))
Updated: Mar. 2, 2020 at 9:00 PM CST
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BEAUREGARD, Ala. (WSFA) - A wooden cross hangs on Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones’ office wall. It’s made from the rubble of the Beauregard tornado.

Jones says there's not a day that goes by that he doesn't think about that day.

"Some point during the day, there's a reminder there,” Jones said.

Jones led the search and recovery efforts in the days following the storm. He says he knew he had to remain focused but can still recall the moment when the reality of the devastation hit him.

“The moment it really hit is when the first indication that a child, we lost a child.”

Twenty-three people died in the storm. The victims ranged in age from six-years-old to 89.

Four were children:

“It’s hard to realize we’ve been without our daughter for a year,” Taylor’s mother Ashley Thornton said.

“We wish we still had our loved ones here, but we know they are in a better place,” Bobby Kidd, grandfather of A.J. Hernandez said.

The two crossed passed recently; strangers before the storm they now share a forever bond.

“We've come to know a lot of really good folks through this. I hate that we had to meet this way, but out of tragedy, there is good." David Thornton, Taylor’s father said.

As they work to move forward, it's the positive they try to focus on.

Jones says the victims and their families will never be forgotten.

“We share in their loss; we want them to know that they aren’t alone.”

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.