Woman credits out-of-town trip for saving her life - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Woman credits out-of-town trip for saving her life

Gwendolyn McGhee's home on Betty Drive was badly damage by the Jan. 22 storm. (Source: WALB) Gwendolyn McGhee's home on Betty Drive was badly damage by the Jan. 22 storm. (Source: WALB)
Piles of debris surround her home as the clean up process continues in McGhee's neighborhood. (Source: WALB) Piles of debris surround her home as the clean up process continues in McGhee's neighborhood. (Source: WALB)
Double pane windows stood strong during the Jan. 22 tornado. (Source: WALB) Double pane windows stood strong during the Jan. 22 tornado. (Source: WALB)
Gwendolyn McGhee (Source: WALB) Gwendolyn McGhee (Source: WALB)
DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) -

A Dougherty County woman is thankful she was out of town when a tornado hit her neighborhood off Holly Drive and badly damaged her home.

After nearly half a century of living in the same home on Bettys Drive, you would think Gwendolyn Tarver McGhee has seen it all.

"I've never seen, never seen anything like this," McGhee said.

That all changed when a tornado struck her neighborhood off  US 19 on January 22. McGhee is still shocked by the devastation left behind.

"I could not believe that this had happened to this community that I have been in over 45 years," she said.

McGhee was in Stone Mountain visiting her daughter when the storm hit. It's a coincidence she doesn't take lightly.

"Had I been here that particular weekend, I would have gone to church and I would have gotten back and after I had dinner with my sister, I would have gotten back in this house and I would have been in there when it came through," McGhee said.

Her bedroom is so heavily damaged, she could only show it on camera from the outside. Fallen trees left holes in her roof. The only thing that spared her living room was double pane glass windows.

"It broke the inside but it left the outside," McGhee said as she looked at the broken windows. "I don't know how that happened but God knows."

McGhee's husband died in 2014 making the recovery process even tougher for this 74-year-old woman, but she credits faith along with help from her family and community to make it through each day.

"I am so grateful and thankful. I pray every night, every day, every time I get a chance, cause I thank the Lord that the building is here and I'm able to come in the door."

McGhee said it could be weeks until all the damage to her home is repaired.

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