Chickasaw County woman remembers 2011 tornado

By Lisa Voyles/Chickasaw Journal

EGYPT – “I asked God to spare my life and health,” said Opha Walker after the April 27, 2011 tornado ripped the roof off her home and scattered her belongings.

Walker, of he Egypt community, heard the storm coming and made it from her bedroom to her hallway where she watched her home blow away around her.

“The roof was gone, windows were breaking and then it just stopped while I was standing there,” Walker said.

Without insurance, she wasn’t sure where to turn, but filed a claim with the Federal Emergency Management Authority and relocated to a FEMA trailer while she figured things out.

Walker was referred to the Chickasaw County Long Term Recovery committee for assistance and found help through the Mennonite Disaster Relief agency who rebuilt her home. She recently moved back in and said it felt good to be back.

“It feels great,” Walker said. “I can’t explain how wonderful I feel at being back at home.”

Although she has her roof back over her head and walls around her, the process of recovery is still ongoing. Many of her possessions were lost forever and she is still replacing household items, but she feels blessed to be alive and well to continue the process.

The tornado left it’s mark on her, causing her anxiety during bad weather, but her faith shores her up to handle the storms.

“You can’t hide from God,” Walker said. “He’s everywhere and he’ll protect you. You can’t give up. When it first happened, I didn’t have no hope at first. But you have to keep on and you can make it through with the Lord.”

The Mennonite team was only one who lent a hand to Walker during her time of need.

“There were so many who prayed for me or gave me a smile or checked on me from all over Chickasaw County. I had so much help from so many organizations,” Walker said.

At the time of the storm, Walker said she wondered, “why me?” and she still does today but for a different reason.

“I’m amazed at all the good things that have happened,” Walker said. “It makes me think, “why me?” Why did all these people come help me? It’s a miracle. He’ll take care of you. He has healed my body so many times and he continues to heal my spirit. Some things happen to draw you closer to the Lord and to see His power. If He put you down, He can bring you back up. And people are still so good.”