ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - On the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Michael, an Albany woman is grateful her life, house and business were spared after she almost lost it all.
Several trees fell in her driveway and some limbs toppled her home.
“All I can think about, am I going to be in the house asleep when that tree fall? I was afraid it was going to fall on the house,” Bertha Thomas, an Albany homeowner, said.
That was Thomas’ fear after Hurricane Michael turned her entire yard into a war zone.
“Well, the debris from the limbs and the pine corn (and) everything," Thomas said. "The yard was in a mess.”
The biggest mess was the massive trees towering over her home — one of them nearly trapping Thomas in her driveway.
Yolanda Thomas, Bertha’s daughter, was afraid it would split the house in half.
“It had been particularly uprooted," Yolanda said. “It was only half in the ground and half out of the ground and it was literally hanging on by a thread.”
The tree was leaning from her neighbor’s home, towards her mother’s home, Yolanda pointed out, and the only thing preventing it from falling was a smaller tree holding it in place.
“I’m thinking ‘oh my God’ if that tree falls on the house, what am I going to do," Thomas said. "It was very emotional.”
Made even more heart-wrenching as the home is also used as a daycare.
“Toys were tossed around and there was really just nothing for them to do at the daycare, so they weren’t able to come,” said Yolanda.
They were also without power and water.
But after three weeks, everything changed when Yolanda reached out to the Albany Chain Gang for help.
“They came out and surveyed the damage and they were very very helpful," Yolanda said. “And willing to help and they wound up cutting it down for us to save the house.”
A non-profit filled with dedicated volunteer members, The Albany Chain Gang came in as the family’s hero.
The Chaing Gang said they did it to show compassion and shine God’s light during a very dark time.
“So I think that’s probably the biggest lesson to learn. And know that he will be there even in the middle of any other storms that are in the future,” Teresa Knight, an Albany Chain Gang dispatcher, said.
As for Thomas, her future is much brighter now that her life is back to normal again.
“I’m so happy. I can pull my car back in my yard. I can even sleep better at night,” she said.