Tuesday, June 18 2013 12:32 AM EDT2013-06-18 04:32:02 GMT
The United Way of Southwest Georgia honors more than a dozen organizations for their leadership in supporting United Way agencies. United Way raised about 1.1-million dollars this year. That's up slightlyMore >>
The United Way of Southwest Georgia honors more than a dozen organizations for their leadership in supporting United Way agencies.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 12:31 AM EDT2013-06-18 04:31:27 GMT
Dougherty County School Board members want property owners to know, they won't raise your taxes despite another tight budget year. Monday night Board members held a public hearing to give people a chanceMore >>
Dougherty County School Board members want property owners to know, they won't raise your taxes despite another tight budget year.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 12:23 AM EDT2013-06-18 04:23:09 GMT
The opening of Albany's new airport terminal remains on schedule despite a delay in the ceremonial opening. Travelers will begin using the new facility at Southwest Georgia Regional Airport two weeks fromMore >>
The opening of Albany's new airport terminal remains on schedule despite a delay in the ceremonial opening.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 12:03 AM EDT2013-06-18 04:03:40 GMT
A Georgia girl remains hospitalized tonight with serious burns following a boat explosion on Lake Lanier. Apparently, a fuel leak led to the blast. Cell phone video captured by boaters shows a boat burningMore >>
A Georgia girl remains hospitalized tonight with serious burns following a boat explosion on Lake Lanier. Apparently, a fuel leak led to the blast.More >>
Monday, June 17 2013 11:59 PM EDT2013-06-18 03:59:55 GMT
Police are asking banks to be on the lookout for a woman who has cashed thousands of dollars in forged checks. So far, she's hit Colony Banks in Albany, Valdosta, Moultrie, and Sylvester. Sylvester PoliceMore >>
Police hope to stop a successful forger who's gotten away with thousands of dollars so far by cashing fraudulent checks at multiple south Georgia banks.More >>
March 15, 2007
Americus- It was two weeks ago Thursday night that killer tornadoes hit South Georgia. Among the dead were two people from Americus, 43 year old Jerry Dukes and 53 year old Carrie Willis Gaines. They were killed inside a duplex that exploded from the force of the storm. Amazingly, one of their friends who was just a few feet from them, survived.
A shell is all that remains of the Oglethorpe Street duplex Travis Griffin called home. Just two weeks ago, his good friend Jerry Dukes stopped by to watch basketball. As ominous clouds billowed toward Americus, they stood on the porch watching.
"My neighbor, Miss Carrie, came on my porch and said someone called and said the same thing on her cell phone, they said its outside of Plains, can I sit with ya'll, I'm scare, and I said sure come inside," said Griffin.
The three went inside and huddled at the kitchen table as the storm approached.
"So we started praying, and three minutes you heard the winds coming through, stuff falling, and all of a sudden the tree came through the living room," said Griffin, he continued, "I ran to the corner, and I thought Miss Carrie was beside me, because she couldn't bend, she had a bad knee, she said, 'I cannot bend,' and I said Miss Carrie follow me, and when I looked, she was in one corner and, the wall, and I heard Jerry."
Griffin crouched in a corner as the duplex imploded. In a matter of seconds, and just a few feet away, Carrie Gaines lay dead. Jerry Dukes, trapped beneath a pile of cinder blocks, called to his friend for help.
"6'9, 6'9 help me man, get the wall off of me I can't breathe, I can't move," called Dukes.
Griffin did his best to help the man he considered a mentor.
"I didn't panic, I'm trying to get the wall off my friend, I'm thinking it's a wooden wall, I can get it off of him, but I couldn't so I went to get help,' said Griffin, he continued, "After we lifted it off of him and pulled him out, I realized and I said check him and make sure he's okay and I was like, no, no. I said, 'man, double check, he might be unconscious', and a good friend of mine, a classmate, said Travis man, he didn't make it."
Now it's those final moments with his friend that Griffin cherishes the most.
"I remember Jerry's last words when LeBron James went baseline and did a dunk and Jerry said, 'that's tough, look at that 6'9".
Griffin remembers the last phone call Dukes made to his wife.
"He called his wife and said, 'Kat are you okay?' and she said, 'Jerry I do not talk on the phone at a time like this.' He said, 'Okay baby, I understand, I'll call you back later," said Griffin.
Griffin still questions why his life was spared, but has found peace in talking with his pastor and feels his life has greater meaning.
"I have a tendency to love everybody, wear a smile everyday. I'm going to tend to do that, staying positive because I know one day we got to leave here, no one wants to suffer, but you have to understand when it's your time to go, it's your time to go," said Griffin.
Carrie Gaines and Jerry Dukes were among 9 Georgians killed by tornadoes March 1st. Six others died in Baker County and one man was killed in Taylor County.