by: John Brasher
They say heroes are made, not born.
Ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances.
In Bibb County, Alabama,
on the evening of May 27, 1973,
many heroes were made.
People as diverse as:
the two meteorologists staffing Centreville Radar who continued their duties,knowing in advance they were probably in the path of a savage tornado;
the Brent resident who ran into the Baptist Church as the storm bore down, warning worshipers of the impending tempest;
the men that commandeered heavy equipment and began clearing a path through the rubble choked main street of Brent immediately following the tornado;
people doing whatever they could with whatever resources were at hand to help the injured and search for the missing;
the two young men who threw themselves on children in the vestibule of the Brent Baptist Church, just as the tornado struck the building; the young man running through the rain and debris along Highway 25 just south of the business district…bare foot and shirtless…trying to get home to check on his family.
This site is dedicated to the people of Brent, Centreville, and Bibb County whose lives were forever changed, and in five cases lost, by the monstrous wind that swept from the southwest on that Sunday evening more than 35 years ago.
The word swept is used quite literally.
Many areas were indeed swept clean. Some were only demolished.
Almost all the rest were merely battered … many beyond recognition.
Nothing in the path of that wind remained as is was.
Homes, businesses, lives…
nothing remained as it was.
Ninety percent of the town of Brent lay in damage or ruin.
I was a photographer/reporter for the Centreville Press at the time. That Sunday afternoon I had gone to the Centreville Radar site, about six miles southwest of Brent, to do a story on operations of that facility during the severe weather that had been forecast for Alabama. I got my story but maybe a little more in-depth than I had expected. I’ll be posting more photos, information, and my experience as this site is constructed. Also, I invite anyone interested in the Brent Tornado to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts, photos, and memories.
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