Tsunami Anniversary: Thomasville Police Officer Looks Back

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Thomasville police OFC Allen Barnhill and his mother lost 12 members of their family in Thailand during the tsunami, but fortunately some of their loved ones survived.

Dawn Barnhill says, "My momma, my brother, my sister-in-law, her two kids."

Thanks to the Thomasville community and surrounding counties that donated money, the Barnhills made a trip to Thailand last year and brought money to those that had lost everything.

Allen Barnhill says, "It was an eye-opener to see all the destruction and stuff, but it was a good eye-opener to see the world as a community come together and help out, pitch in where they could."

The Barnhills say their family is doing well and are living in government housing while they try to get back on their feet.

Allen Barnhill says, "We call on a monthly basis to check-up on them. They're trying to rebuild, but it's kind of hard to do so on a $50 income a month, and that's pretty hard for them, but we're trying to help out here and there where we can."

Dawn Barnhill says, "They're doing fine and I'm fixin’ to go back next month just to see about them."

Dawn says she hopes on her next trip to Thailand to help her family rebuild their lives, and maybe even start a family business.

Officials still aren't exactly sure how many people died in the tsunami, but government figures estimate the number of dead and missing at more than 216,000 in 11 countries.