Published Fri, Sep 16, 2011 6:56 am Dateline
Updated Fri, Sep 16, 2011 2:21 pm
On September 16, 2010, around 7 p.m., a tornado ripped through parts of Athens County and West Virginia.
In the aftermath, many residents were left to deal with the destruction and devastation, rebuilding their homes and sifting through rubble for their possessions.
WOUB asked contributors to submit their pictures of what remained after the storm ravaged their communities.
Angela Brauer contributed her memory of the tornado, along with her images:
While I am a former WOUB alum and OU alum, at that time, I found myself to be another Athens resident. I was the Athens High School Assistant Girls Soccer coach in the fall of 2010. We had just entered the second half of our game against rival Alexander when my roommates texted me letting me know of a storm headed Southeast from Logan. We were directly in the storm's path.
Minutes later, the referees called the game and both teams took shelter in various places due to lightning. We were obligated to wait 30 minutes after seeing lightning, but knowing the valley does not get tornadoes, I drove up to the main building to pick up the team's new warm ups. As I returned to the locker room where we were taking shelter, the clouds turned an odd color and wind picked up. Before I knew it, the team and myself were huddled in the center of the small building crouching.
High schoolers were crying, coaches were yelling and consoling, and after what seemed like a lifetime, we got up and went outside to find an absolutely destroyed stadium that had literally minutes before been what those soccer players called home. I cannot describe the sights I saw first, because I immediately started texting, calling and tweeting about the tornado.
It was headed directly for campus if it continued the same path. Luckily, it did not continue and the only areas affected were outside of campus. The sky was still dark and yellow when we walked outside to inspect the damage.
We heard sirens from every direction, we saw people running and crying, bleeding, and some barely able to stand up in disbelief. It was like something out of a movie. I think the most difficult thing for me during this time was not grasping what had just happened, but rather, the transition it took for me to help others. As a 21-year-old who was barely out of college, all of my life, people had been protecting me. Within seconds without expecting it, I was expected to protect others, the girls I coached, the girls I was somewhat in charge of. Their parents put trust in a 21-year-old college student, and through that time, I did what they had expected of anyone overseeing their children without having to think about it.
I spent the entire night, while my fellow WOUBers covered the tornado, doing phone interviews, live interviews and sending pictures to other media outlets across Ohio. I wanted to cover the tornado, but I was scheduled to go out of town, and besides, the personal connection of actually being in the middle of the storm was enough that night. Since then, I can honestly say it was probably the worst storm I have ever been in. Yet, I am so glad I was...and it made me even more connected to the Athens community and Athens High School.
Unlike most alum from that area, I came out not just as an OU grad, but a former resident and employee of Athens, Ohio. I am so happy that field was rebuilt - everything happens for a reason! It looks beautiful and I hope to revisit the team and the old Basil Rutter Stadium one day.