Columbia tornado witnesses reflect on the first anniversary of the storm

Columbia tornado witnesses reflect on the first anniversary of the storm

COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - Two Columbia residents who captured video as last year's deadly tornado passed over the city took time to remember and reflect of the first anniversary of the storms.

"Actually, when I woke up this morning, thunder woke me up," said Jessie Graham, Camellia Home Health and Hospice liaison. "Immediately I thought, 'oh my goodness. Not again.'"

Graham decided to record video as he was outside watching the storm roll in toward his office building, and recalled those hectic moments.

"We was filming and then all of the sudden, the roof started waving," he said. "So I told him, 'the roof's coming off. Let's get in.' When we tried to go in the back door, we couldn't get it opened. It was the pressure that had the door shut, but finally, I guess when the roof came off, the door opened. We went in, dove under a desk, and it was over in 45 seconds. It was over. But a lot of praying and screaming was going on during that time."

Will Bozeman remembered working at Bumpers Tires and Accessories recording video of the tornado and then having his phone sucked away by the storm.

"It got real, real bad all of a sudden right there on the left side of us, and there it was," Bozeman said. "It was too late to do anything. That's when it took the phone."

Bozeman said he has had the anniversary on his mind this week.

"Yeah, we've been thinking about it," he aid. "We had a Christmas party yesterday, and we were just talking about it. Reminiscing on it."

Graham said Wednesday's possibilities of severe weather only increased number of thoughts about last year's destruction.

"That definitely went through all of our minds this morning," he said. "Actually, I looked out back there to see if anything was coming where the other one came from, but it was OK. Everybody's thinking about it, but it's work as usual."

Both also noted how the community and volunteers poured out to help the city rebuild.

"Everybody's just come together and worked on everything," Bozeman said. "We had so many volunteers come out to help, and we back running pretty good now. We're just thankful to be alive. The good Lord's looking out for us."

Graham said, "You know, when this first happened, we was all in shock. But immediately after the shock, we went into worrying about other people because we was all OK. We knew that the people around us, some of them were hurt, and we was concerned about them. But now that's all in the past. We've got this beautiful building to work in, and we're loving every day of it."

Graham and Bozeman say they do occasionally watch the videos and enjoy having them as a sort of momento, but Graham said it will be his only storm video.

"Will I ever do it again? No ma'am. No ma'am. I won't," Graham said.