Sawywerville gets first community storm shelter

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 6:56 PM CDT
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SAWYERVILLE, Ala. (WBRC) - Sawyerville is still recovering from a tornado that touched down this Spring. Residents joined a businessman with ties from the area to get the money needed for the area’s first tornado shelter. Eugene Tinker led the effort to bring a storm shelter to his hometown.

“Being raised in Sawyerville, I saw a lot of tragedy happen during storm time. I witnessed some deaths, plenty of homes destroyed,” Tinker said. He used some of his own money along with that of several area churches to spend $50,000 for a storm shelter and the foundation it sits on.

In March, a tornado ripped through the community destroying dozens of homes. People were forced to wait the storm out in their homes because the closest storm shelter was miles away in another part of Hale County.

“There’s not much down here for people to go to as far as being sheltered when storms occur,” explained Harry Davis.

Tinker said anywhere from 50 to 100 people can fit inside for safety. He settled on buying the shelter after discovering many businesses that sell tornado shelters were sold out. Tinker believes it gives people here a sense of security they haven’t had here before during severe weather.

“I put a deposit there, said that they can use the property that I already own and it’s accessible to the community and lets try to get some of those people safe,” Tinker hopes this efforts shows others in Hale County, they could get more shelters in the county if they work together and combine their resources.

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