But on January 30, the Gordon County EMA director got one anyway.
As he monitored an approaching EF3 tornado that moments earlier had mangled parts of Adairsville, he realized it could potentially hit several schools in the Sonoraville area.
His daughter was in school at Sonoraville High. His wife was at work at Sonoraville Elementary.
As it approached, Cooper got a play-by-play from Deputy EMA Director Chad Castoe and Sonoraville High principal Bruce Potts.
“(Potts) said, ‘Richard, it’s heading right over the middle school,” Cooper said.
“My (family) is there and I don’t have contact with any of them,” Cooper added. “Here I am, I have to do my job and worry about them too. My daughter was texting me and the last text I got from her said, ‘Daddy, I’m scared.”’
The tornado arrived a short time later and leveled homes, damaged utilities, flung trees and left many people displaced.
Thankfully, no one was killed in Gordon County.
Nearly a month later, Cooper and his staff are still working to help those impacted.
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