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Albany woman rebuilds after home destroyed from Jan. 2017 tornado

Betty Hamilton's new home stands behind her old steps.
Betty Hamilton's new home stands behind her old steps.(WALB)
Published: Jan. 23, 2022 at 10:38 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Five years ago, her home was merely a pile of rubble. But now now, she’s back stronger.

Betty Hamilton remembers the events of the January 22, 2017 storms vividly.

“By the time we realized the storm was coming, the storm was here,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said she was in her closet at the time of the tornado, but nothing could prepare her for its shear strength

“It immediately hit and we could hear the house tearing apart,” Hamilton said.

Then she said the tornado threw her, her husband and her home into the brush at least 30 feet behind her house.

Betty Hamilton is now living in a rebuilt house after the January 22, 2017 tornado.
Betty Hamilton is now living in a rebuilt house after the January 22, 2017 tornado. (WALB)

“We were praying during the time the tornado hit and that’s all we could do,” she recalled.

Her injuries were a fractured ankle and a head laceration.

After she healed, she had no choice but to build back. But it wasn’t easy.

“To get back to where you are at our age it’s like starting all over again,” Hamilton said.

Her mobile home, her cars, everything gone from the storms.

“We are still in progress but we’re in a place where we’re comfortable,” she said.

Hamilton lost her husband last year, but she still fights on. She credits her recovery to the people who answered her calls for help.

“People came out to help and we had so much support,” Hamilton said. “I really don’t think I could’ve made it through it without the neighbors, the community, people I didn’t even know. "

She still gets nervous when a storm comes, even without a tornado threat.

“When I head a storm, I get nervous because it brings back the memories of 2017,” Hamilton said.

Th Chain Gang helped paint and create the memorial of a tree that fell during the tornado.
Th Chain Gang helped paint and create the memorial of a tree that fell during the tornado.(WALB)

There are still the stumps of trees outside to commemorate her home and the trees that once stood.

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