Lee County tornado survivor creates memorial for victims

Updated: Apr. 11, 2019 at 9:39 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LEE COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - The recovery process in Lee County from the March 3rd tornadoes still has a long way to go, and so does the healing process. A survivor, who lives just off Lee Rd 38, has created a memorial to help the healing process, and provide some comfort for the community.

“There was 800 trees on this piece of property, almost four acres,” said David Kelley, a Beauregard resident. “There’s probably 40 to 50 now.

Kelley, and his home, survived the Lee County tornadoes on March 3rd. “I'm the only house that I know of on this side of the road for a mile. I figured there's something special about this place, so we may as well make something special out of it.”

His idea? Fruit trees- one for each person the tornado took.

“They give something back to you,” Kelley explained.

Over the last several days, David, along with other members of the community and volunteers, have been working to bring this idea to life.

“We redid the pond, there was a pond there,” said Connie Gates, who has been part of the crew building the memorial. “There was a bunch of debris from the tornado in it, so they put a new liner in it and started re-stacking the stones.”

Everything at the memorial has been donated: the trees, the chairs, the stones, the time.

“It took two days, I think, to dig all the holes and get the trees planted,” Gates said.

“I’m just going to let people come out here and do what they want to do,” Kelley explained.

Kelley says he wants this to be a community project, for a community that’s lost so much.

“I know they’re not going to replace the people who died, but maybe somebody who lost a loved one can come out here and say that’s the continuance of my loved one,” said Kelley. “It’ll be a happy side to a devastating situation.”

Copyright 2019 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.