Clay tornado victim remembered

Christina Nicole Heichelbech Memerial Endowed Scholarship check from Auburn University.

In January 2012, tornadoes devastated parts of Central Alabama. At least two people died, including a 16-year-old girl from Clay.

It's been very emotional. A year for healing and remembering and getting through it and it's also gone very quickly." Not a day goes by that Darrell and Carol Heichelbech don't think about their daughter Christy.

Her mother says "she was generous, warm loving, very sociable." An aspiring veterinarian, 16-year-old Christina Heichelbech excelled in school. But in the early morning of January 23rd, 2012, a tornado changed everything.

Darrell Heichelbech says "I'd gotten up the stairs to get the kids when it hit. Josh and I ended up in the pool and Christina ended up beyond it. When we found her she had already passed." Her parents, now finding comfort one year later, simply talking about her and those who care. "The outpouring of support we received from the Clay community, our co-workers, our church family, even people we don't even know, it's amazing."

It's that support that helped the couple decide to re-build their home where their children grew up, despite the scars surrounding the neighborhood. Carol says, "The trees are wiped out and even coming down Old Springville Road, it's a constant reminder."

But there's also a reminder of love. Someone made a quilt out of Christina's T-shirts. And a vet she volunteered with, who is an Auburn Alumnus, started a scholarship fund in her honor. Darrell says, "Now there's a scholarship in Christina's name that will go on forever. She will always be remembered. That gives us a lot of comfort knowing someone will go to school as a result of this."

To find out more about the scholarship fund and how you can donate, just visit, and click on scholarship.

The family stresses the importance of having protection provided by a weather radio, something they didn't have during the storm.. but do now.

Clay City Manager, Ronnie Dixon, says the council adopted a proclamation Tuesday night making January 23rd Christina Heichelbech Day. Wednesday's church mass will begin at 6:30 at "Our Lady of Lourdes" Church in Huffman.