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Mar 2, 2013 11:25 PM

One Year Later: Morgan County Community Marks Anniversary Of Deadly Tornado

Hundreds of people gathered at Morgan County High School Saturday afternoon to mark the first anniversary of the EF-3 tornado that swept through the county on March 2, 2012.

Judge Executive Tim Conley and Mayor Jim Rupe proclaimed today a day of remembrance and thanksgiving in West Liberty and Morgan County. A memorial service was held at 5:47 p.m. which coincided with the time on March 2nd that the tornado touched down in the county.

"It's just gone by too fast," said Mary Dotson. "It doesn't seem like it's been a year."

After a moment of silence for the seven people in the county who died from the tornado, people released lanterns into the sky in the school parking lot. There were four red lanterns for the four miles of destruction from the leap day tornado on Feb. 29 and 36 blue lanterns for the 36 miles carved by the EF-3 tornado on March 2.

Community members swapped stories from where they were last year as they listened to local musical performances in the hours that led up to the memorial service.

Kathleen Allred said she was a "walking miracle" after being hospitalized for several months following the tornado that picked her car up and flipped it over.

"My lung was punctured and it crushed my windpipe," said Allred. "Let me tell you, it's not fun to be sucked up in {the tornado}. We're all firm believers in the Lord, I can tell you that."

Just as they did yesterday, West Liberty Elementary students performed the song "Lean on Me" for the tornado anniversary.

A standing ovation was given to the emergency responders in attendance for their roles in the aftermath of the storm. People listened to several 911 calls from that night last year as residents began to phone in their tornado sightings.

"It's been a beautiful year because there's been so many good people," said Sherry Flannery.

County officials also unveiled their plans for a memorial which included a family tree design made from storm debris.

The night was capped off with an Elvis concert by impersonator Endre Samu, the Kentucky State Police Trooper who served as KSP's public relations officer in Morgan County in the days and weeks after the tornado.

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