By Alice Ortiz/Monroe Journal
SMITHVILLE – When a tornado hits, death and destruction occur, but also miracles happen.
That was the case for Jerry and Patsy Frederick of Smithville who had lost a picture of their son, Lee, when the tornado hit the Smithville School. Lee, who was a freshman at Mississippi State University, died in 1998 from bone cancer.
Since Lee had been in the Smithville and MSU band, Smithville School wanted to do something in his memory and had a metal picture of him made and put in the band hall.
The picture was blown away by the tornado when it hit on April 27, and was found 69 miles away in Russellville, Ala., by Dan Morris, who was bush-hogging his field and found it May 27.
He and his wife, Tammy, put the picture out on Facebook the next day, and Patsy Frederick’s niece, Lori Spann, saw it and told them about it. The Fredericks contacted the Morrises and picked the picture up on Sunday.
“It was not in horrible shape,” Patsy said. “Jerry straightened it out as much as he could.
“It is amazing that it was found. We are relieved and very thankful we were able to have the picture returned.”
Patsy said they were childless for 15 years and adopted Lee when he was 9 days old.
“Losing a child and then losing his picture made it especially difficult,” she said. “He was the joy of our life for 20 years.”