Autauga Co. Tornado Survivor Fearless Ahead of Storms, 2-Year Anniversary


By Alabama News Network

Monday will mark two years since an EF-3 tornado hit the Boone's Chapel Community in Autauga County with winds up to 165 miles per hour.

But the threat of severe weather isn't scaring some tornado survivors.

Thursday's sky looks a lot like the "hell" Jessie Mitchell, known as Miss Tunnie, experienced nearly two years ago.

"I can walk and I thank God for that," Miss Tunnie said. "God has been with me all the way, if people don't believe there's a God, they're crazy, there is one and he helped."

The 73-year old and retired state trooper was launched 65-feet into her back yard by the EF-3 tornado that roared through the Boone's Chapel Community, clearing everything in its path, including Miss Tunnie's mobile home. 

"Two years and I'm walking, I can't believe I am walking, because they thought I wasn't ever going to walk," she said.

Debris crushed her pelvis, feet, and leg, but after multiple surgeries and rehab, life is getting back to normal at her property on County Road 94.

"Somebody says to me, 'Don't you want to go to another apartment or someplace else?' And I said 'Uh-uh, I'm going right back there,' and they say, 'Are you afraid?' I say, 'If anything else happens to me, that means I'm supposed to leave here in the first place, I'm not supposed to be here.'"

Miss Tunnie's new mobile home is rebuilt in between the demolished home's foundation, and the tree where family members found what they thought was her dead body April 15th, 2011.

"I'm here, I don't know for how long, but I am here," she sitting in her new living room.

But being "here", also means putting herself at risk for severe weather, which could strike Autauga County at any moment.

"I'm not afraid, I'm good, I'm going to bed tonight, I'm going to sleep," she said with a smile. "Call me tomorrow morning, I'll wake up and I'll talk to you. I'm going be okay, I'm going to be just fine."

April 15th is just one tornado anniversary in the coming weeks. Alabama News Network will be covering the second anniversary of the April 27th tornados that left hundreds dead in 2011.

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