Storm survivor reflects on saving seven lives

Storm survivor reflects on saving seven lives
Bobby Thornton, Dougherty County resident and storm survivor (Source: WALB)
Bobby Thornton, Dougherty County resident and storm survivor (Source: WALB)
A shed untouched by the storm that destroyed where a home once was (Source: WALB)
A shed untouched by the storm that destroyed where a home once was (Source: WALB)
Thornton examines debris (Source: WALB)
Thornton examines debris (Source: WALB)

WORTH CO., GA (WALB) - Monday marks one year since deadly tornadoes destroyed homes and lives here in South Georgia.

As recovery continues, many people are working to move forward.

"This is heartbreaking man," exasperated Bobby Thornton, a Dougherty County storm survivor.

Almost one year ago, Bobby Thornton saw a very different picture, a scary one filled with broken and fallen trees and power lines, now just barren acres.

"I was right here on Jewell Crowe Road with my family in my car trying to escape the tornado. We lived in a trailer park right down the road. And we didn't escape it, we literally drove right into," explained Thornton.

Thornton and his then-wife, and four children were in his truck driving from Dougherty County into Worth.

"God puts us where we're supposed to be for a reason. And I was able to help a bunch of families that almost took a direct hit to their home," said Thornton.

Thornton said he saw three homes damaged.

He said he helped seven people escape to safety in his truck.

While two homes survived, the third was demolished.

"She had a big porch here. And when I actually came up to the porch I was not able to go through the front door," explained Thornton, "The roof had to collapse in the front door so I had to break out a window. Or break out what was left of a window. She um, she was OK and that's what mattered."

People's lives saved, while rubble and rock remain.

"That's all that's left out here," Thornton said examining rocks.

He said he learned the importance of helping people during chaos.

Now he's hopeful the area will return as neighbors rebuild.

"I hope one day me and my kids can ride back through here and it will look like it used to look. And it won't remind us of the tornadoes that came through here that day," said Thornton.

Thornton said he is still amazed by how much his community has taught him during this time.

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