Candlelight service honors 23 lives lost in the March 3, 2019 tornado


BEAUREGARD, Ala. (WRBL) – Providence Baptist Church held a candlelight service in honor of the 23 victims of the March 3, 2019 tornado. 

The service was held at their memorial site, which featured a cross surrounded by images of the precious lives lost. Providence Baptist Church was on the frontlines of offering aid to the community. 

“Life changed on a dime,” said Rusty Powell, Senior Pastor at Providence Baptist Church. “I share with our folks from time to time: we don’t always know what life will hand us but we can always know whose hand will hold us.”

Attendees honored the volunteer fire departments, career and fire rescue departments, local and regional law enforcement and hundreds of volunteers. 

“It speaks of our faith, it speaks of a faith community that is literally just holding onto each other at this moment,” said Powell. 

The congregation expressed their gratitude for the thousands of individuals, communities, corporations and communities of faith that came to aid the people of Beauregard. 

David Thornton lost his 10-year-old daughter, Taylor. Two years later, he continues to honor her legacy.

“She was like air in my lungs,” Thornton said. “We just think about her all the time. We talk about her with friends, family and just continue to keep her name out there and keep her name alive.”

The tight-knit Beauregard community leaned on each other for comfort following the devastation.

“They would not let us fall aside or fall in the cracks,” Thornton said. “They continued to call, send letters, messages… We see them out in public and they stop us and talk to us and see how we’re doing. They refuse to let us just go away and face this on our own.”

The first candles of the candlelight service were lit at the bottom of the cross by family members and first responders. As the congregation sang “This Little Light of Mine,” the flames were shared through the crowd until each candle was lit. 

Together, the congregation recited, “We remember; a light began to shine in our darkest moment.”

The service was a beautiful tribute to the lives and legacies of these individuals and a testament to the resilience of the Lee County community.

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