DEAR EDITOR:

During the afternoon hours of Thursday, March 25, a very dangerous storm moved through Cherokee County (Alabama) causing some damage to structures, trees and utility lines in the southern and eastern parts of the county.

Deputies from the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office responded to those areas, during and immediately after, the storm. Deputies and other first responders, the Cherokee County Rescue Squad, state troopers, and the Ellisville, McCords, and Spring Garden fire departments acted by conducting damage assessments, clearing roads of debris, and checking on people in the path of the storm.

The volunteers of those fire departments, all of our fire departments, and the rescue squad are invaluable to public safety in Cherokee County.

Cherokee County was very fortunate, and blessed, as this previously deadly, storm moved through our county. This supercell thunderstorm produced a large tornado in several Alabama counties — including Calhoun County, where lives were lost — before moving into the Goshen community in Cherokee County.

Our citizens all emerged safely from this storm with no fatalities or reports of injuries. We are extremely thankful that Cherokee County residents were spared from the devastating damage and tragic loss of life that others experienced in Alabama.

As my chief deputy, Josh Summerford, and I were watching and discussing this storm as it approached Cherokee County on a path toward the Goshen community, it brought back so many terrible memories of the large F4 tornado that hit Goshen and the Goshen United Methodist Church on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1994.

Back then I was a state trooper and I responded to Goshen to find total destruction and people lying dead and severely injured. On that horrible day in 1994, we lost 20 members of the Goshen UMC and over 90 other people were injured. Many families of the Goshen community were tragically impacted forever.

My memories and thoughts about Goshen and approaching tornadoes also were impacted forever after witnessing the horrible destruction and death that day. I still remember those scenes and the families affected from the Palm Sunday tornado in 1994.

I am, again, so thankful that our county was largely spared and I encourage you to pray for the families in our state who are dealing with damage, but especially for those families who’ve lost loved ones in Calhoun County.

Sheriff Jeff Shaver

Cherokee County, Alabama

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