The Horns lived at the house through a number of storms, including the May 3, 1999, tornado that grazed their property and sent them scrambling for shelter at the high school. The devastation around them convinced them to install an underground shelter. They huddled there in 2003 when another killer tornado came their way.
The house also gave Sally peace, with its scenic surroundings and close proximity to her business. When Ronnie died in January after a long illness, she couldn’t imagine moving from the home she had built and shared with him.
It was a good thing for her employees at Control Flow that she stayed.
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Monday afternoon began typically for Jerry Mosley, the general manager at Control Flow. He’s been responsible for running the company for several years and has helped look after Sally since Ronnie’s death.
He was meeting with several coworkers — ironically discussing the need for an office television to monitor severe weather — when cell phones started to ring. Moments later, the shop hands showed up and Mosley started hearing reports of a nasty storm forming miles to the west.
“My wife called me and told me to get to the cellar right away,” he said. “I kept her on the line and told everyone we were going to Sally’s immediately.”
The typical tornado shelter is little more than a hole in the ground. It’s uncomfortable for anything more than a handful of people and far too small for the 10 people at Control Flow at the time.
But the Horns’ shelter is atypical. Preparing for exactly the type of catastrophe that came to her door Monday, Sally had a second shelter installed 14 years ago.
That decision saved lives.
“Some of the guys wanted to try and drive home as the storm was coming,” Mosley said. “We would have been scattered, and they would have ended up driving right into the tornado trying to get home. I told everyone they weren’t leaving and they had to get to Sally’s. If it wasn’t for her, none of us would have survived.”