Mar 232023

In a blog a few weeks ago, I told you about us having Forrest Brown at Tuskaloosa Tornado Shelters install a storm shelter in our garage for us. Living here in the middle of tornado country it only made sense to do so, and it is comforting knowing that it is just a few steps from the door of our house to the safety of the shelter if we ever need it.

In that same blog I told you that our son Travis and his wife Geli lived here in Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011, when an EF4 tornado raged through Alabama, cutting a wide swath of damage between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. It was the second tornado to hit Tuscaloosa in two weeks. Geli was at work when the storm hit, and with cell towers down in Tuscaloosa, it took hours for them to find each other. Travis still suffers from PTSD from that experience.

Though we only live about a 15 minute drive from their house, if a tornado is coming at you, you don’t have 15 minutes to go someplace safe. So we decided it only made sense to have Forrest install another shelter at their house. This time we went with a sloped top shelter, which is partially buried in the ground, with access from a door on top of the ground. These shelters are rated to withstand an F5 tornado and I can see why. They are put together very well, and Forrest does an amazing job of installing them.

When we got to the kids’ house yesterday, we found Forrest deep in a hole, doing some last minute finessing before the installation.

Then he moved the bottom half of the shelter off of the truck and into the hole expertly, with no slop on the first attempt. It fit like a hand in a glove.

The next step was to apply a sealant along the top edges of the concrete.

There are stairs going down into it at an angle, making it easy to access without worrying about falling off of a ladder.

Then Forrest took the top half off of the truck, and again made it look easy as he placed it right where it belonged on top of the bottom half. Then some time was spent bolting the two halves together.

When that was done he used a backhoe to cover the back and sides of the shelter. I’ve seen more than a few people run a backhoe in my time, and this guy really knows his business! Every move was carefully choreographed and impressive for anybody to watch.

And here’s the finished product with the door open and closed. We will sleep a lot better knowing that Travis and Geli have a safe refuge right outside their back door if Mother Nature sends a bad storm our way.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Bad JuJu in Cleveland by the late Karl Bort, with Thelka Madsen. When Detective Nicholas Silvano is called to an abandoned house on Cleveland’s east side where four men have been brutally slain, he finds himself involved in a complicated case of drugs, murder, and voodoo! When FBI Agent James Reis begins creating roadblocks at every turn, Silvano teams up with DEA Agent Charley Goetz on a manhunt that takes them from Cleveland to Florida, in an investigation where the stakes become higher when the killer makes it personal, forcing Nick to face feelings he’d been denying for too long.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – Courage is knowing it might hurt, and doing it anyway. Stupidity is the same. And that’s why life is so hard.


Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  6 Responses to “Another Tornado Shelter”

  1. You’re a good man and father. Now do you put snacks in these shelters to help pass the time?

  2. Thank you Nick and Terry! That is one of the most thoughtful gifts a parent could give their kids.

  3. You and Terry are FANTASTIC Mom ‘n Dads!

    Kudos to you for your care and compassion for others!

  4. What a great dad & mommy you guys are. Also you can rest knowing they are safe.

  5. If you live in tornado country, you should have some emergency supplies, both medical and comfort, flashlights, blankets, water and helmets in place just to have your bases covered. Hope you don’t have to try the shelter out tomorrow night with severe weather predicted, but good to know your shelter is ready!

  6. Safety for them and comfort of mind for you.

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