Tornado victim remembers the storms - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Tornado victim remembers the storms

November 15, 2006

Camilla--  If any county in Southwest Georgia needs extra protection from weather dangers it may be Mitchell County. Two deadly tornadoes ripped through the same area in 2000 and 2003. As the skies changed Wednesday, it brought back difficult memories for some folks. One man who hopes for the best despite his huge loss.  

Strong winds blew limbs and leaves beneath rolling clouds in Camilla Wednesday. It was just a hint of something brewing in the sky.

"Whenever they say bad weather is coming, I always stay up with my clothes on, shoes and everything," said Robert Williams. If anybody knows bad weather, it's Robert Williams.

"I was in a tornado in 1954, 1976, January 10th, 1976," said Williams. He knows the exact dates of each tornado in Camilla.  He remembers 2003's storm vividly. He and his family laid on the floor and prayed.

"When I came out the door and looked, it was a mess," said Williams. But nothing touches 2000's deadly tornado.  It took three family members, his sister and two nieces.

"My nieces, one of them had a big hole through her body and the oldest one, they said she was found sitting up with the front twisted around to the back," said Williams. His sister Ruthie Mae Williams was found crushed to death.  So bad, Williams wasn't able to view her body.

"It was kind of hard for me. You know I cried. I asked the Lord why he didn't take me," said Williams. A scene of devastation like this is enough for anyone to have questions or doubts but Williams says he no longer questions nature or faith and he's no longer as afraid as he used to be.

"I don't care where you go, you can't hide if it's your time to go," said Williams. And as the clouds loom over his home on Lee Williams Street, he feels something or someone bigger is also there.

"I just thank God for watching over me," said Williams. That's what brought him through four storms and he remembers that every time the wind blows.

2000's tornado hit on Valentine's Day.  That was also the birthday of Williams' oldest niece who died. After the deadly storm, Williams adopted his sister's youngest daughter who survived the tornado.

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