By Lauren Estes
The Cullman Times
Many communities in Alabama are still putting the pieces back together after the April 27, 2011 tornadoes shook the south. The City of Hanceville is one of those communities, and Mayor Kenneth Nail said they were able to work through the wreckage and find some positives coming out from the catastrophe.
“No one wants a disaster to occur, but we tried to take something positive from it,” Nail said. “Without the disaster, we would not have been able to do what we did rebuilding-wise. We were able to make improvements to the park and city hall, and that would be the positive I would say.”
Nail said his advice to other communities who experience this type of devastation is to document everything, so it can be used for assistance later on as the town or city is rebuilt.
“You have to take care of the immediate needs of the citizens, life is always number one,” Nail said. “After the immediate need is taken care of, then replacing what has been lost comes and with that make sure, document anything and everything you do for grants and other forms of help.”
Seventy-five-year-old Hanceville resident Odie Curvin reported about $28,000 in damage to his home from April 27 and is still battling the repercussions. He encourages others who have faced similar tragedies to persevere and trust God to direct them.
“I would tell anyone who has been through something like this to do the best they can with what they have,” Curvin said. “Continue on and just trust the Lord, he will take care of them.”
Hanceville reported over $500,000 in loans that were taken out to fix the damage that had been done, including city hall, after April 27. Nail said they recently received their last reimbursement check of $129,000 for the town.
“It was a struggle for the city, for us to go borrow half a million dollars to go pay this, but I’m very glad it worked out,” Nail said. “This was a major thing for me and for Hanceville, probably one of the best things I’ve been involved in since I’ve been mayor. We were able to pay back the loans we borrowed and also put some savings in the bank.”
Lauren Estes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 256-734-2131, ext 270.