Christmas Day 2012 was anything but peaceful for The Salvation Army of Mobile, Ala. After serving Christmas dinner to over 1,000 local residents on Tuesday, the staff and volunteers of the Coastal Alabama Area Command were probably hoping for a restful night with their families – but Mother Nature had other plans.
Severe weather, historic in its intensity for a Christmas Day, roared across the Southeast, spawning as many as 40 tornadoes from Texas to Alabama. In the historic Dauphin neighborhood of Mobile, strong winds, lightning and an EF-2 tornado ripped through neighborhoods and a medical district, toppling trees, snapping power lines and damaging property.
Despite the holiday, the Salvation Army’s mobile canteen was out serving rescue workers and helping residents clean up the damage well before the sun came up on Wednesday morning. Most of the daylight hours were spent in front of heavily-damaged Trinity Episcopal Church.
“That was a busy, busy area with workers and residents coming back,” said Katie Emer, the public information officer for the Salvation Army. A few blocks away, crews and staff members were hard at work at Murphy High School, where tornado damage was extensive.
Canteen workers, including three kitchen staff members and two others, provided hot chocolate, coffee, biscuits and gravy in the morning and soup, sandwiches, Gatorade, and water in the afternoon. By 3 p.m. Wednesday, more than 400 people had been served.
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