Sister of tornado victim scatters ashes two years later

2 years later: Tornado recovery in Copeville

COPEVILLE, TEXAS - Alice McKinnon waited two years for the moment to spread her brother's ashes.

Jerry Brazeal was one of the many victims of a tornado that hit on Dec. 26, 2015. Brazeal was living in a camper behind a daycare when the tornado tore through.

"For a man that had nothing, he always survived," McKinnon said.

On Thursday she proved that there is no bond like blood. McKinnon and her brother Jerry were three years apart. They were two of three kids raised by a single mom.

"He walked me down the aisle when I got married," McKinnon said.

Jerry Brazeal didn't say much or want much. He's described by many people as a simple man. McKinnon said her brother struggled with alcoholism. But she said he enjoyed life more than most because he didn't take interest in material things.

The few things he did care about were his cowboy hat and the pigeons he trained in Copeville. Jerry never had a cell phone and lived life by doing odd-jobs.

"That night my phone just started going off, everyone started calling me," she said, referring to the night the tornado hit in 2015.

She had the urn that held his ashes in her home for two years and realized it was finally time to release them to the spot where he died.

Alice took the urn to the field where his camper was, behind the spot where the daycare stood.

On Thursday the man who loved the outdoors had returned there.

"I didn't realize how hard that would be," Alice said.

She added she will always have a place to return to -- the place her brother felt content and at peace. 

"Tomorrow is going to be a better day. I'll smile on it tomorrow," she said.

© 2018 WFAA-TV


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