March 10, 2007
Baker County - - Six people died in Baker County from a violent tornado last week. Friday, funeral services were held for Daron and Phyllis Owens and their daughter Kursty Thomas. Saturday, funeral services for the other three Baker County victims were held.
45 year old Joan Brinkley and her sister 42 year old Willie Sue Brinkley had gone to their niece's home the night of the tornado. They lost their lives that night, along with their grand niece, 9 year old Kierra Crumbley.
"I wont complain," sings a family friend at Saturday's funeral. It's an inspirational gospel hymn that helps the family get through the grief.
"It's been a long time but it's about over with now," says relative Jeanette King.
Family and friends gathered at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church for the uplifting homegoing service for two sisters, Joan and Willie Sue Brinkley.
"They were someone that the community just really cared a lot for them and as you see the ones that are here today, they came out to support us and we thank God for them," King says.
A few hours later, many of the same people returned to pay tribute to Kierra Crumbley, she was just 9 years old.
"Every time I seen the little girl, I'd be like 'hey Keke'. She would cover up her face and say 'hey'. I said 'Keke get your hand away from your face like that' and she'd say 'hey'," says family friend Tiffany Butler.
Baker Elementary's principal spoke to the crowd about how much students had been talking about their former beloved classmate. Other school staff came out too.
"We had her the last class period on Thursday while the storm was starting and we had them in the auditorium there, they were doing their homework and we had no idea that anything was going to happen later on," says teacher James Williams.
She was called home and family members tried to put their tears aside. What comforts them, they say is knowing their three loved ones are in a better place.