So. Georgians recover from tornado - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

So. Georgians recover from tornado

December 27, 2002

Early County- Trees snapped like twigs, downed power lines, and homes wrecked by winds. This is what is left of an Early County neighborhood.

"There's approximately 33 homes that we've established at this point in time that's had either minor or major damage," says Georgia Emergency Management Agency Field Coordinator, Gary Rice.

But that number does not include storage buildings and damaged irrigation systems. Georgia Emergency Management Agency officials have spent the last few days assessing damage throughout the county.

"Everybody has been accounted for. Its my understanding that there was 2 minor injuries. Actually, we saw one of those ladies today and had a busted mouth, but no major injuries and everybody's accounted for and seems to be fine," adds Rice.

The couple who was injured are Robin Blankenship's mother and father. Both his and his parents home was destroyed in the tornado. "I was coming home from Colquitt, and I had a bad feeling anyway," remembers Blankenship.

"I got here and the power lines were down, and I was having a fit trying to get back. It was the longest ride of my life. I drove to new Jersey twice, but this ride was long, but I can back and I'm shaking and everybody's saying what can I do and I didn't know what to do. I was just shocked," describes Blankenship.

Even though the storm may have disrupted their holiday, people in Early County still have the holiday spirit. Frank White is clearing both Blankenship's and his parents' lot free of charge.

"I went to Cuthbert to pay a bill and I seen it and I just stopped to see if he needed help. He talking about I don't have any money to pay you. I said I'm not worried about no money, I said you say money one more time I'm leaving and I ain't coming back," says White.

Blankenship says with White helping clear his lot and others lending a hand, moving on is much easier.

Robin Blankenship plans to rebuild on his land... but his parents aren't sure what they're going to do.

If you want make a donation to Robin Blankenship or his parents contact Commercial State Bank in Blakeley at 229-723-3485.

Posted at 10:05 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com