The Tornado and Phil Campbell
[imgbelt img=PCLibrarian.jpg]A student at Phil Campbell Elementary put his head on his desk and began to cry. When the substitute asked him what was wrong, he replied, “I just miss the sound of Ms. Gentry’s voice.”
Though her office door was closed, Jackie Ergle struggled to maintain her composure. Her lip quivered, her voice got shaky and she blinked several times to stem the tears.
None of this was unexpected. After all she was recalling the events of April 27 when the heavens opened and sent fingers of violent winds flailing across Alabama.
Jackie is principal at Phil Campbell Elementary, a community of about 1,000 people tucked away in the southeast corner of Franklin County.
The first storm warnings sounded at 10:45 a.m. that fateful Wednesday. Students and faculty spent most of the next two hours lining the halls as they’d been taught to do.
“They were great,” said Jackie. “Even though we missed lunch, everyone was well-behaved.”
The warning was lifted at 12:30 p.m. and the central office in Russellville advised all county schools to dismiss as more severe weather was expected later in the day. Students loaded on buses as quickly as possible and headed home.