Tuscaloosa mayor touts city’s tornado recoveryPublished 11:22am Monday, February 25, 2013
Recovery was the topic of Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox’s address to those in attendance at Thursday’s 67th annual chamber banquet.
Following the devastation left in the wake of EF 4/5 tornadoes that tore through the city on April 27, 2011, Maddox said the city of Atmore, which he described as “in the bulls eye” of each hurricane season, could take a page from Tuscaloosa’s relief efforts.
“You’re a city that understands what it is like to face adversity,” Maddox said. “On April 27, 2011, our community faced adversity like none other.”
Maddox spoke at length of the process of rebuilding a city decimated by a 6,0000-mile-wide tornado that killed 53 people, left thousands homeless and destroyed many local businesses.
“We lost about a million dollars in tax revenue in six minutes,” Maddox said. “We had to treat people in the parking lot of DCH (Druid City Hospital). It was hard to know who were nurses rushing up to treat people.”
Maddox, who is married to Atmore native Stephanie Roberts Maddox and is expecting the couple’s first child later this year, said he not only recognizes Atmore’s propensity for storm damage, but also feels at home when visiting in laws.
“It’s an honor to be in a place that I have come to call my second home,” Maddox said. “I can’t tell you how emotional it is for to be here.”
Maddox also said visiting Atmore can be a bit of a vacation from his highly social life in Tuscaloosa.
“I love that I can come down here and wear shorts and a T-shirt and not be recognized, but I may have jeopardized that tonight,” he joked.