VALLEY, Ala. — Monday, dozens of people gathered at the Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home to celebrate the life of 34-year-old Toby Burrow.
According to Lee County Coroner Bill Harris, Burrow and four others were on a boat Friday night at Lake Harding trying to get back to shore, when a storm came out of nowhere. Burrow was struck by lightning. After the strike, two of the individuals in the boat had to push the boat back to shore since lightning disabled the boat, while the other two performed CPR on Burrow.
Burrow passed away soon after.
Burrow was born in Opelika, and was a Baptist who loved the Lord.
Burrow graduated from Valley High School back in 2001, and then graduated from Southern Union in 2003. Those who knew Burrow say he was an avid golfer, fisherman and fan of Alabama football.
They also say Burrow was an extremely gifted welder, fabricator and knew his way around heavy pieces of machinery.
The National Weather Service says Burrow became the ninth lightning fatality of the year, but add that July has averaged 10 lightning deaths in the U.S. based on the past 10 years.
“July is the peak in lightning activity across the United States, and it is also the peak in summertime activities, and that combination makes July the deadliest month in lightning fatalities,” NWS lightning safety specialist John Jensenius says.