Smithville man reflects on ‘”losing everything” ten years after deadly storm

Image Credit: Scott Cox

SMITHVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – April 27 is the anniversary of the Smithville tornado. The storm killed 16 people, and completely flattened much of the town.

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Some people lost loved ones, and some people lost their homes and businesses.

Scott Cox lost just about everything.

“It’s like nothing you can imagine. Everything you’ve known for your whole life, is gone,” said Cox.

Scott Cox is standing on a concrete slab– a spot that was once home to a lucrative rental business.

“Where this new slab sits, there was one mobile home sitting there, there was one about midways here, and there was one on the far side of the property, and where these storage buildings are now, there was a duplex,” said Cox.

During the storm, Cox lost his father, 18 of his rental properties, and his childhood home.

“It was the only house that my father ever lived in. He grew up in that house, and it was built in 1926. We lost that house too,” stated Cox.

Cox said he immediately sprang into action after the storm hit, setting out to find his parents.

“The first person I found when I got out there was a guy that was driving a milk truck… I found him laying out in the field beside my mom and dad’s house, and didn’t know who he was or where he came from,” said Cox.

Cox was able to flag down a nearby EMT to help the man, so he could continue looking for his mom and dad.

“At that point, I could hear my mother. So, I dug her out, found her, and when I found her, I was able to see my dad under some more debris. So, yeah… Tough… Tough, tough situation,” stated Cox.

His father, Jesse Cox, died in the storm, leaving him to take care of his mother and what was left of the family business.

“It’s probably a blessing that my father didn’t survive because He probably would have killed himself trying to fix everything,” said Cox.

His mother, Nell Cox, survived the tornado after enduring 9 and 1/2 hours of surgery.

“She came back, built her a new home, and she lived a productive life… We just chose not to talk about it very much. We had brief conversations, you know, just kind of an overview of what happened. You know, she might have been looking for something that she once had, and, you know, it was just, well, think you lost that in the tornado, mom…” said Cox.

Nell Cox passed away in 2018. Scott has two children and two grandchildren, now. He said he now sees his life in two halves. The life before the storm, and the life after… and every day he continues to seek out the positive.

“If there’s any blessing to come out of this… if there’s anything that people can take from it… is just the good in folks, and how we can all join together when something like this happens to try and help each other get through it,” said Cox.



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