Recovering from a devastating storm


[lin_video src=×9&auto_next=1&auto_start=0&div_id=videoplayer-1369278881&height=480&page_count=5&pf_id=9624&show_title=1&va_id=4068794&width=640&windows=2 service=syndicaster width=640 height=480 div_id=videoplayer-1369278881 type=script]BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Just two days after an EF-5 tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, the images produced evoke vivid, strong memories for people in parts of Alabama.

The pictures are eerily similar to those from April 2011 and another storm that passed through central Alabama 15 years earlier.

But despite the harrowing images, survivors of both the 2011 tornadoes and the 1998 tornadoes know the trials that stand ahead of the people of Oklahoma.

Latrice Dudley needed nearly two years to get back to her home in north Smithfield.

“We had people to help us,” Dudley said. “They gave us our space, they helped with the children, provided clothing, gave us money – just things to help us get back on track. We had a lot of help.”

The physical needs are the ones that are met most frequently and easily.

Organizations dedicated to helping people get back on their feet, such as Toomer’s for Tuscaloosa, are still helping people get their lives and homes back together.

“Even if it is going to take a year, two years to [recover], we still can help in that way,” Christina Tatum with Toomer’s for Tuscaloosa said on Wednesday.

However, when the cameras leave the city and the initial shock of the magnitude of the situation dwindles, the bigger issues, such as emotional wounds, remain.

Matthew Seals has been living with the emotional effects of living through such a terrifying event since April 8, 1998. He deals with the emotional wounds, but he tries not to dwell on them.

“It really is just as simple as I’m going to choose to worry about the things I can do something about and not worry about the things I can do nothing about,” Seals said.

Seals’ eight-year-old son was killed during the tornado, and he was badly injured.

Now, the injuries he suffered have left him confined to a wheelchair.

His message for the people of Moore, Oklahoma is not to the survivors, though.

Instead, he wants to send a message to the survivors’ friends and family members.

“Your friend, your neighbor needs you. Put aside your differences,” Seals said. “Do what you can to help that person. That’s who I’d speak to.”

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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