County hardest hit by tornado holds memorial

Bertie County resident

May 24, 2011 8:21:14 PM PDT
Bertie County held a memorial Tuesday evening for the 12 people who died during the April 16 tornadoes.

In many ways, the community is still in shock and mourning. The memorial gave survivors the opportunity to find comfort in each other.

"They had said something about bad storms, but I didn't know it was going to be this bad," Melvin Hinchey said.

He lost his home and his 60-year-old mother, Gayle Hinchey, when a twister carved out a path of destruction in the town of Colrain.

"I lost my dad when I was 16," Melvin said. "Then I put my mom in the ground when I was 35. I love her and I miss her very much."

Sarah Sutton shares Hinchey's grief. She lost her 51-year-old brother, Milton, in the storm.

"Getting over it, it's very hard," Sutton said.

Sutton and Hinchey each had a candle lit in their honor, in addition to the others who died in the storm. Candles were also lit for the survivors and the community, but the last one was for the future and the hope it brings.

Despite the loss experienced in Bertie, the community is vowing to rebuild and return even stronger.

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