Wedding photo returned to family after being lost in April 27, 2011 tornadoes
HALE COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Every picture tells a thousand stories and one picture of four members of a bridal party is one of love and loss.
"When I look at this picture and think about the good times," said Carl White of Sawyerville, Alabama in Hale County.
"We had a double wedding and then had to turn around and have a double funeral. It's a hurting thing to lose someone you love," White continued.
His two daughters, Elizabeth White and Ora Lewis, were the blushing brides posing in the photo.
Elizabeth, 25, was killed April 27, 2011, when a deadly tornado swept through Hale County, completing demolishing their house in Sawyerville.
Lewis's husband, 26-year-old Henry Lewis, also died.
"They found my daughter and son-in-law right across the road here on Highway 14. It still haunts me today," White said.
White suffered a leg injury that preventing him from working. His wife, also injured, underwent eight surgeries.
"It was so devastating. I have never been through anything like that in my life and I never want to go back into something like that was long as I live," he said.
The family lost everything, including all their wedding photos from March 6, 2006.
The photo of White's two daughters, cousin and a family friend landed in St. Clair County where it remained for the last five years until someone mailed it to WBRC, along with an anonymous letter.
The letter's author, identified only as "avid and longtime viewer," said the closet and file cabinets where the picture was stored for half a decade had been cleaned out several times since the storm.
"I don't know how we didn't find it—a mystery!" the author wrote. "I hope someone will recognize this return it to the person it belonged to."
WBRC posted the photo on Facebook to help get the picture back to its original owner. The post was shared hundreds of times and tips started to roll
in, leading us to Ora Lewis, who still lives in Sawyerville.
"Actually when I saw the picture on Facebook, I was kind of shocked and surprised everybody was tagging me in it on my timeline," Lewis said.
She said she's surprised that the picture was still intact and had traveled so far.
"I think about my sister and my husband a lot. You know the saying, 'Give them their flowers while they're alive.' I did everything in my will power for them while they were here so I don't have any regrets, none at all, but we all have to leave this world one day, but I missed them very dearly," she said.
"When I heard about this picture it was just so exciting because I see my niece, Sharon, my daughter right here and Elizabeth. She means the world to me," White said.
The family said they're happy they now have something positive to look back on, because they are still haunted by that day.
The family says there are no nearby storm shelters, so they drive to Tuscaloosa when there's a threat of bad weather where they stay in a hotel for the night.
In all, six people died in Hale County on April 27, 2011.
Copyright 2016 WBRC. All rights reserved.