Lives spared; homes not

By Hanna McCain
The Winston County Journal

Winston County was hit hard Monday afternoon when tornadoes and storms touched down and obliterated the parts of the county.  Winston Medical Center, Natron Wood Products (the old Georgia Pacific building), and about 300 homes and structures were left in shambles.
Patsy Freeman, a local resident of Winston County waited at the Winston Medical Center when the tornado touched down and smashed into the hospital.  “I walked in the first floor of the hospital and everyone was in the halls.  The staff was doing a great job keeping everyone calm.”
Freeman stated that she went up to the second floor where her mother was located.  “There, they were distributing out pillows.  The staff told us all to cover our heads.”
Freeman stated that they all knew when the tornado was above them because the double doors at the end of the hallway flew open.  “Two of the nurses ran down the hallway and physically held the doors shut.  I just knew they were going to get sucked out of the building.”
Freeman reported that everyone sat in the hallway from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  “Water was coming into the hallway from the hospital rooms.  I assumed it was from where the windows had blown out and rain was coming in.”
Earnestine Pattie rode out the storm in her home on Eiland Avenue at the time she heard the tornado warnings.  “I was listening to the warnings on the radio.”
She stated that she had her six grandchildren with her and she put them all in a small linen closet.  “I knew that my only job at the moment was to protect my grandchildren and I did.”
Shattering of glass and shaking of the house was all she felt and heard.  “I just kept praying that the Lord would let our home hold up to this storm.”
After the tornado, Pattie and her grandchildren walked out of their home unharmed.  She stated that they ran down the road to the Head Start building which is located at the end of Eiland Avenue.
“We found a side of the fence that was down and the doors were blown open.  We sought refuge there until fire rescue came with bottled water.”
Kianna McCully, 19, was with her grandmother and other family members when the tornado demolished their home on Eiland Avenue.  “We all got in separate closets because there were 8 of us total in the home.”
McCully reported that she heard a loud rumbling.  “My grandmother just told us to call out to Jesus and we did.”
McCully and her family ran also to the Head Start building just like her neighbors after they felt all was clear.  “All I could do was cry, scream, and run.”
McCully stated that her home was destroyed.  “You can see the outside from the inside.”
Ken Hargett, Shelter Manager with the Red Cross, is overseeing shelters here in Louisville.  Hargett stated that “right now we need bottled water, individually packaged snacks, and Gatorade.”  Hargett is managing First Baptist Church’s storm shelter.