Dougherty Co. family thrown from home by tornado - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty Co. family thrown from home by tornado

The couple was thrown from their home (Source:WALB) The couple was thrown from their home (Source:WALB)
Their mobile home was destroyed (Source:WALB) Their mobile home was destroyed (Source:WALB)
Johnnie Mathis, storm victim (Source:WALB) Johnnie Mathis, storm victim (Source:WALB)
DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) -

A Dougherty County family is sharing it's amazing story of survival after being thrown from their Harris Road home by last weekend's tornado.

Betty and Calvin Hamilton said they ended up buried in a pile of rubble, yards away from where their home once stood.

"It blew us all the way across to over here," said Calvin.

The Hamiltons were caught in the direct path of Sunday's tornado.

"We prayed and I held onto him with dear life," said Betty, 

They two hid in a closet and, in a matter of seconds, found themselves around 50 feet away with the home they were just standing in nowhere to be found. 

"I called for her and she answered," said Calvin. "When she answered, I told her to stand up. She said, I can't stand up because my leg is trapped. I reached over with all the strength I had and I pushed up and she was able to free herself and we walked out."

Betty said she walked away lucky with a minor foot injury. As for Calvin, he's okay, but can't find his tractor or his wallet. 

Throughout the frightening experience, 94-year-old Johnnie Mathis was just feet away alone in her home.   

"I said Lord help me because I'm here by myself with nobody to do anything," said Mathis. 

That's when Mathis said she received an answer to her prayer.

"When I said that and looked around, it went wooo wooo and it was gone," said Mathis.

Mathis and the Hamilton's then met up and looked across their devastated property. 

"I hate to come around it," said Mathis. "I do. I really do. I could have been dead and they never would have found me." 

But, now, all say that, despite the destruction, they still have their lives with each other. 

"We lost everything, but I gained more faith," said Calvin.

A strength Hamilton said will help him survive the coming days.

The family adds they are going to rebuild and come back to their home.

Copyright 2017 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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