Calhoun Co. residents clean up tornado damage, donations needed

Calhoun Co. residents clean up tornado damage (Source: WALB)
Calhoun Co. residents clean up tornado damage (Source: WALB)
Beverly Johnson (Source: WALB)
Beverly Johnson (Source: WALB)
Devonte Williams (Source: WALB)
Devonte Williams (Source: WALB)
Chief Walt Ingram (Source: WALB)
Chief Walt Ingram (Source: WALB)

CALHOUN CO., GA (WALB) - Cleanup continued Friday from a twister that was on the ground for nearly 16 miles across Calhoun County. The storm path ended on Brown Road, just north of Morgan.

An enormous pine tree was uprooted, just grazing the side of a trailer home.

The owner of the trailer said it was an uncomfortably close call.

"We were in the midst of it, once we got ready to close the door, it was limbs coming in the door. Right behind me, so I closed the door and went and jumped in the tub," said tornado survivor Beverly Johnson.

Thursday's EF2 rated tornado, with winds as high as 130 miles per hour, caught even the weather experts by surprise.

The National Weather Service did not issue a tornado watch for Calhoun County before the storm, because the parameters were not there to indicate there would be any trouble.

The 15 mile tornado path destroyed several homes and injured five people, but the close knit community is recovering together.

The first place the tornado did structural damage was in a neighborhood off Highway 216, north of Edison.

A teenager said his mom got an alert on her phone.

"And it was saying seek shelter now," said Devonte Williams.

Next door, the tornado ripped Williams' cousin's home to bits, and the mobile home next to it.

Terrified, they couldn't find his cousin, Homer Shaw, in the rubble at first.

"I was thinking he was okay, I hope he would be alright.

When they said they found him, he had a broken leg," said Williams.

The tornado built up power, hit Dickey Bypass, and overturned a semi truck.

A brick home was damaged, and just a little further west, the Wilkerson home once stood. A double-wide mobile home, which was anchored to the ground in several places, the anchors a foot deep, was ripped away and apart.

Affected families lost everything, and people in the community care.

"I've already been confronted by the DOT, they told me I am blocking traffic, but I've been out here taking donations, all to be given to the community chest at the bank," said Edison Police Chief Walt Ingram.

Chief Ingram, with hat in hand and a homemade poster, was taking donations himself for tornado victims in his county.

"Everybody has been gracious, almost every car that has come by has donated, some have come by two to three times and donated," said Chief Ingram.

Donations are being used to help families like the Browns, who are thanking God that two enormous trees uprooted by the tornado didn't land on their homes.

"I just thank God, thank God, for being alive, me and my mom," said Johnson.

Calhoun County EMA Director Richard Martin says donations for tornado victims, including canned goods, clothing and money, is being collected at the welfare office in Morgan.

Donations can be made to the "Community Chest" and given to the Bank of Edison, 476 Turner St., Edison, GA 39846. Donations must be marked "For Tornado Victims".

The Wilkersons lost almost everything after the tornado. Donations can be made to this family by visiting their GoFundMe page here.

You can find more information on this story by visiting Melissa's Facebook page here.

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