Salem sees progress, one month later

March 27, 2009

By Chris Vessell bio | email

SALEM, AL (WTVM) - One East Alabama community is all too familiar with severe weather that we're facing this weekend. People in Salem are still recovering from the tornado that tore through their community one month ago.

Several people in Salem agree that this week's potential for severe weather is an unsettling reminder of the tornado that changed the lives of so many on Saturday, February 28th.

"I walked around probably for a week in a daze, because it was just devastating, you know. We just couldn't believe it, trying to obtain all of it in our heads, you know," said Martha Woodall, a Salem resident.

Residents in Salem say the community is making good progress in the clean-up effort, but they add the town will never really be the same. "So many historic buildings are gone forever," Woodall said.

"This week they hauled away trash right down the street that had been there since the storm. Also down in front of the post office, they hauled that away as well, and I was proud of that," Anne Woodall, a Salem resident said.

Martha Woodall says a major setback has to do with insurance claims. "Some are having a few problems with the insurance companies," she said. "I know I am too a little bit, because I've sent them some estimates, and I still haven't received a figure yet," she added.

The storm damaged a significant portion of Wacoochee Junior High School. More than 900 students and their teachers are currently calling Smiths Station High School their school home. The major obstacle is repairing five thousand square feet of the roof that was shredded during the storm.

The Lee County School Superintendent tells News Leader 9, he hopes repairs to Wacoochee Junior High School will be complete by mid-April. If that project goal is met, students would be able to return to their school shortly after.