Troy Hardy stood amid the wreckage of his lakefront home in Smith’s Station, Ala., Monday afternoon. The house where he had lived with his wife, Susie, for 17 years was in ruins. A tornado had come through 24 hours before — while he, his grandson and his wife were home — and destroyed everything.
When he realized a tornado was bearing down on them, he started screaming his wife’s name, but the tornado was so loud he knew she couldn’t hear him. He told a Washington Post reporter that he found Susie in their bedroom. She had put their 4-year-old grandson onto the bed and gotten on top of him to protect her with her body.
Hardy grabbed another mattress and pulled it over the three of them — and then he covered them with his own body to protect them as much as possible. And then they waited in terror as the tornado destroyed the home around them.
“It’s hard to explain, or even really talk about,” he told the Post. “It was everything we had. But all of it is replaceable. My wife, my grandson, they’re not replaceable. Nothing matters more than life.”