First To Know WeatherHurricane Michael


One Year Later: Remembering Sarah Radney

Georgia's only Hurricane Michael victim
Posted at 9:27 AM, Oct 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-10 12:48:12-04

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Ga. (WTXL) — At least seven Florida deaths are blamed on Hurricane Michael, which tore across parts of Florida and South Georgia.

Eleven-year-old Sarah Radney was the only victim in Georgia. We went to Cairo, to see how she's being remembered, one year later.

For Roy Radney, life is all about timing.

"God's gonna have his way whether we like it or not ... and while it may not seem at the time, the appropriate way, it's the best way," said Radney.

He vividly remembers that entire week. Sarah and her brother went on a mini-vacation about 75 miles away in Seminole County, Georgia with their grandparents.

"It was fall break, my wife and I had to work and, to be honest with you, they really didn't want to go that week," Radney explained.

During the height of the storm, Roy and Sarah's stepmom Amber got a call they were not expecting.

"You can tell that something was wrong and my mom said, 'Roy, I don't know how to tell you this. Sarah got hit by something,' and I don't think she said she was gone," said Radney.

Strong winds from Hurricane Michael sent a concrete post from the carport through the roof of the home, striking Sarah in the head.

"All we got with the spotty signal, is she's struggling to breathe. so we're thinking she's struggling to breathe," Radney explained. "And this was for hours and I've never prayed so hard in my life."

For hours, emergency crews could not get to Sarah and neither could Roy. But what he didn't know was that Sarah had already died from her injuries.

"He tried to leave, he tried to get up and I stopped him. I said you can't leave right now," said Amber Radney, Roy's wife. " I was still going to go, what stopped me was my mom saying, 'Don't make me worry about you too.' I can tell then in the sound of her voice that it was serious."

Sarah's nickname was "Small Fry." She loved the the color purple, pigs and butterflies. Her eyes are remembered for being bold and bright just like a doe.

Her final resting place: At the family's church cemetery. It's now filled with all of her favorite things.

Even at age 11, Sarah left her family with peace that she's now, in a better place.

"I'm not sad anymore about losing Sarah anymore really, because she's up there with our Father, where we're all working so hard to be," said Radney said.

The family celebrated what would have been Sarah's 12th birthday on August 7th with a balloon and butterfly release at her gravesite. Just Wednesday night, their church family at Pine Hills Baptist, planted butterfly bushes around the property, marking the one year date of Sarah's death.