“Listening to the Storm”
The Transportation Museum now features an exhibit surrounding the April 27, 2011 tornado, entitled “Listening to the Storm.” There are numerous pictures on display of the destruction and some that depict the gratefulness and will of survivors. At the center of the museum are podiums. At each podium is a pair of headphones for the visitor to listen as picture displays tell the stories of individuals that found an artistic voice through the devastation and businesses that are using various means to highlight how the storm affected our community.
However, my favorite display is the video showing the story of my good friend Robert Reed. Reed lived in a mobile home community in Holt when the storm came. The video tells the story of Reed’s background as a high school football star and even includes his period of incarceration. More importantly, he tells how he was able to remove 12 people from the rubble following the tornado while his fiancee and daughter were taken to the hospital by a sheriff’s deputy who assured him that he’d take care of the family if Reed would stay and save lives. One of the most touching moments is when Reed describes pulling an elderly woman from amongst the debris and witnessing her take her last breath.
It is apparent that the city of Tuscaloosa has put a great deal of work into the exhibit. As Mayor Maddox said in his welcoming address, we often declare a traumatic event as a day we shall never forget, but the exhibit currently on display at the transportation museum makes the memories of that fateful day all the more vivid. I think everyone in the Tuscaloosa community, and those that live in surrounding areas that watched on television as the tornado ripped through, should visit the transportation museum and take a moment to “Listen to the Storm.”