Stories from the Storm: Teacher Danielle Epps

After seeing her house completely destroyed and her family come out alive, Danielle has learned to not value material things but rather the people in her life.


My name is Danielle Elps. I am a preschool teacher and a mother of 3 beautiful boys and we live at 15175 Jetlowsfit drive in Cottondale, Alabama. I woke up about 5 o'clock that morning. To have my devotional time. And I noticed that the winds were kinda loud. My husband got up. And then we thought, let's get the boys. And right when we went for our sons, the power went out, and you could hear the glass popping. And so I was, I grabbed my four year old son, and I was headed. To our bathroom when the storm hit, and all I could do was fall to my knees. My eight-year-old went, was sucked out of his bedroom window by the tornado. So I had my son, and I was praying over him. And Reginald, my husband, called out to me. I said, I'm fine. I've got Joe. He said, I'm fine. I've got James Peter. And I said, what about R.J.? And I said, I don't, I don't have R.J. He, he's in the storm. I just pray louder for him. And after the storm was all over, I called his name twice and he walked back to us, from over the rubble and over the debris. He walked back to us. I actually didn't have time to be afraid. It takes longer to tell the story than the actual event from start to finish. And so it happened so quickly. Probably the entire thing I imagine was less than a minute, although it seemed like half an hour. And so we were just so relieved that we were all together and we kinda collected ourselves and went to our neighbor's house. Half of it was still standing. Because it was still raining It was still lightning and we weren't positive that there wasn't another storm coming. My home was completely destroyed, not a wall was left standing. There wasn't a two-by-four left standing. The plumbing was even ripped out of the concrete slab, there were places on the slab where The carpet was gone, the linoleum was gone, and it's just completely destroyed. I feel, in some ways I feel invincible, like I've conquered this F3 tornado, what else can stop me? And then in other ways I'm very vulnerable, because I'm excited for what we're gonna have. But there is a part of me that misses what we had. I think I've learned to not value material things. I've learned to, love more. I, I would rarely say to like, my mother and my sister, I love you. I say it Much more now and I'm much more appreciative of the people who are in my life. It's sad that, that I lost my home and some of those things can't be replaced. A lot of those things can. The television, the couch. There were some things that were irreplaceable. But the, the main things, the most important things Were standing strong after the storm, and, and I've learned to just treasure that.
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