West Liberty residents turn tragedy into triumph

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Saturday was the one year anniversary of one of the worst nights in our state's history as a deadly tornado outbreak ripped apart towns and took 24 lives.

The tornadoes wiped out nearly everything left in its path, leaving a trail of death and destruction.

Almost all Morgan Countians remember where they were on that warm Friday night in March when Mother Nature tore apart their town.

“On Friday evening it was unreal. The announcer on the TV said you need to take cover right now so we ran to the basement and the tornado hit both sides of the church we were in,” said Betty Stamper who lives in West Liberty.

“I didn’t get the chance to get out of the car, I just threw my two granddaughters in the back of my car and laid on top of them and that’s when the tornado was right there on us,” said Barbara Collins, who survived the tornado.

Collins says March, 2nd 2012 will be etched in her memory forever.

“I was getting hit with bricks off the building and it smashed the top of my car down. They had to dig us out of the car,” Collins said.

Even one year later, it's still hard for survivors to come to terms with something so tragic.

“They are your memories, it’s my hometown and I grew up here so it’s hard to know I will never get to see the town I remember growing up,” said Senator Walter Blevins, Morgan County native.

But on Saturday, folks in West Liberty focused on the positive as they joined together to reflect on how far their town has come.

“We are rebuilding buildings and rebuilding houses and trying to put people's lives back together,” said Morgan County Judge-Executive Tim Conley.

Saturday’s memorial service at Morgan County High School was chalk full of folks showing their support for the people of Morgan County as they continue their long road to recovery.

“When you go through tough times you become that much closer and more important to each other and I’m proud to be from Morgan County,” Blevins said.

It seems last year's tornadoes have only strengthened the bond that unifies Kentuckians.

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