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Family of Clay teen killed in tornado to throw out first pitch at Barons game

By Gary Lloyd

BIRMINGHAM — The family of a Clay teenager killed in the Jan. 23, 2012 tornado will throw out the first pitch at Friday’s Birmingham Barons baseball game against the Jacksonville Suns at Regions Field.

The game is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m.

Christina Heichelbech, 16, was killed during the tornado in the Steeplechase subdivision off Old Springville Road in Clay two years ago. Her brother, Josh, will throw out Friday’s ceremonial first pitch.

Darrell Heichelbech, with wife Carol beside him, speaks to a crowd last year at Cosby Lake in Clay.
file photo by Gary Lloyd

Parents Darrell and Carol will also be there, helping to bring awareness to being prepared for severe weather.

Renee Crook, a volunteer, said Midland Radio Corporation will donate about $10,000 worth of weather radios to the fans in attendance. That’s about 200 weather radios, she said. Academy Sports & Outdoors donated the batteries for the radios, she said.

Crook said she’s given away nearly 600 safety helmets since 2012. She plans to work with the Heichelbech family in the future to raise awareness for severe weather safety.

Christian Heichelbech was a student at the Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School, a member of the Valley Singers, an inductee to the Spanish Honor Society and a recipient of a full scholarship to Auburn University to study veterinary medicine. Jan. 23 is Christina Heichelbech Day in Clay.

Christina Heichelbech

Read more about the Clay tornado here.

For tips on how to stay safe during severe weather, find Crook’s “Tornado Helmet Safety” page on Facebook.

Contact Gary Lloyd at and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.

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