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10-Year Anniversary of Alabama's Deadliest Tornado Outbreak

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of one of the most violent, widespread, and deadly tornado outbreaks in U.S. history. A total of 208 tornadoes touched down—the most on record in a single day.  316 people died, which is the 5th most in a single day.

The Central Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa was in the direct path of an EF4 tornado and was forever changed. The building was a total loss, yet it saved the lives of six students huddled in a small closet behind the Church’s baptistery. Instead of focusing on their own incredible loss, members of the Church quickly looked outward to the hurting community as they worked to feed, clothe and provide physical and spiritual support to thousands of storm victims.

Eventually, the Church reached out to surrounding churches for support, one being Riverchase Church of Christ, where our General Superintendent, David Hare who has since retired, is a long-time member. David was one of the members who volunteered with clean-up and leaned on some of the employees at BL Harbert to help with clearing debris. Like many other organizations and businesses that were in the path of these storms, the Church realized that they would have to rebuild and asked BL Harbert if we would be the General Contractor. A partnership quickly formed between a Church congregation, general contractor, architect, engineers, subcontractors, and vendors who wanted to help – to do something for a community that was physically and emotionally in pieces.

There are many stories, many of them horrifying, from that memorable day. In the wake of the destruction, communities came together to gradually rebuild what they could. The result was humbling. BL Harbert was proud to be a part of the rebuild of the Central Church of Christ.

“BL Harbert promised to help us with demolition and debris removal, and you all kept your promise. You all promised to be by our side throughout the preconstruction process, and you kept that promise. When construction commenced, you promised to provide a team of professionals that would turn blueprints into reality, and that promise was kept. Our new church home stands testimony to promises made and promises kept by the men and women in your fine company.” –Lee R. Jamieson, (former) Minister

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