HOLT, Ala. -- Teddy and Rosie Rowe expect to be living in their rebuilt home by the time Alabama’s football season starts.
The Holt residents who lost their home April 27 in a tornado are getting a boost from Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban and his wife, Terry, through their charity Nick’s Kids.
The Sabans announced a $50,000 pledge Friday to Project Team Up, a coalition formed by local business and civic leaders and other volunteers who aim to rebuild some 30 homes in the Rowes’ working class neighborhood a few miles from Alabama’s campus.
“We wanted to help someone in this community, our community, to be able to rebuild their homes,” Saban said, standing on the concrete foundation of the Rowes’ house. “This is not just for this community. This is a concept that we hope gets adopted by many people in many groups that say they want to do something and are out there looking for something to do. This is something we do individually to help ourselves, and help those in need in our community.
“This is why we supported this project.”
A church, Soma Body of Christ, is the lone building still intact in the neighborhood, its tin roof visible from the Rowes’ lot. Pastor Shaun Faulkner, who said five families from the church lived on Elm Street, started organizing volunteers to clean up and rebuild the neighborhood and is handing off the sizable job to Project Team Up.
“We can be remembered most by how we respond to help other people,” Saban said. “You can see the devastation on TV, but, if you’re in the presence of people who have lost their homes and lost loved ones and lost their businesses, it really creates a lot of incentive to get out there and do something positive to help rebuild communities and rebuild homes.”
The Rowes huddled in the hallway while the tornado destroyed the rest of their home. On Friday, they stood where their living room used to be.
“The tornado just swept clean apart here and smashed homes,” Teddy Rowe said. “It was total devastation.”
Rosie Rowe was stabbed in the arm by a stick, while daughter Helen Sims had a nail stuck in her foot. But Teddy Rowe said there were no serious injuries or deaths on the street, even though they had to dig themselves out of the rubble.
Even 2-year-old LaMarcus Sims sensed how bad things were.
“When we walked out of the house, he had the soberest expression on his face,” Teddy Rowe said. “He started asking everybody, ‘Are you all right?’ He was giving everybody hugs.
“It does something to me every time we talk about it.”
But the family is determined to stay in the spot where they survived, where, as Rosie Rowe said, “God spared us.”
“We have so much invested in this neighborhood,” she said. “This is a good neighborhood, you don’t find people like this every day. When it happened, everybody was trying to help everybody. Everybody looks out for everybody in this neighborhood. I’m praying that everybody will come back. I don’t want to lose anyone.”