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Robbins, Restoration Church remember April 27 tornadoes

Volunteers survey the damage during recovery efforts for the tornado outbreak on April 27, 2011. CONTRIBUTED
Volunteers survey the damage during recovery efforts for the tornado outbreak on April 27, 2011. CONTRIBUTED
In a photo from 2011, Kate Robbins was one of the rescue workers who helped after the tornado destruction on April 27, 2011. CONTRIBUTED
In a photo from 2011, Kate Robbins was one of the rescue workers who helped after the tornado destruction on April 27, 2011. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – No electricity, for six days or longer. No cell phones. Dwindling food supplies. Gasoline shortages.

However, the most horrific fact after the tornado outbreak on April 27, 2011 was the death of 248 people in Alabama. About 100 people died in North Alabama. At least 2,200 were injured from the storms, according to the National Weather Service.

With the fifth anniversary of the tornado devastation, Madison resident Kate Hood Robbins vividly recalls were work in disaster rescue. Robbins, a lifelong resident of Madison, was a senior at Bob Jones High School in 2011.

Yet, Robbins worked 14 days straight on disaster rescue and recovery efforts, primarily in the Anderson Hills area of north Madison County. Robbins was an EMT and a volunteer member of the Huntsville-Madison County Rescue Squad at that time.

“I told her that even though her graduation from high school was one month later, that horrible day she ‘graduated’ and became an adult with what she saw and did,” her mother Angie Hood said.

Kate Robbins also helped residents in the hard-hit area of Yarbrough Road.

“Without power, we didn’t leave the area as many Madison folk did,” Angie Hood said. “We stayed here to support Kate who worked so many hours. I hand-washed her rescue squad uniforms and hung them on the old clothesline we put up in the back yard.”

“When McDonald’s in Madison opened a few days later with a limited menu, I bought burgers and took them to the rescue squad, who were delighted to have a hot hamburger,” Hood said.

Five years later, Kate works a paramedic for HEMSI, after earning a bachelor’s degree in EMS management from the University of South Alabama. Last summer she married Daniel Hood, who also works for HEMSI.

Also active in tornado recovery, Restoration Foursquare Church in Madison fed several thousand people after the storms. Restoration will remember the fifth anniversary of the tornado destruction by hosting a community cookout on April 27.

“We will once again serve our community and have a time of fun and fellowship,” church administrator Gregg R. Travis said. “The cookout will begin at 5 p.m. Everyone is invited.”

Restoration Foursquare Church’s address is 5810 Wall Triana. For information, call 256.325.5834 or visit r4sq.org.

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