Tornado Memories

Published 11:32 pm Friday, April 27, 2018

The News-Herald asked for your memories of the tornado and its aftermath, and many Facebook users responded. Here are some of the responses. Comments have been edited for clarity and length.


Linda Romano Williams: My Mom passed away in the middle of this tornado at our home in Whaleyville surrounded by her family. We said she was so stubborn God sent a tornado to take her to Heaven.


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Kristin Johnson: Remember this day very well. We lived in Hillpoint Farms. That afternoon a neighbor came over for a play date and within 15 minutes after her arrival the tornado hit. She had the good sense to get all of us in the downstairs bathroom, which was located in the center of the house. All six of us piled in (two adults, four children ages 5 months, 18 months, and 2 years old). We heard the wind for what seemed like forever (maybe four minutes) before opening the bathroom door to discover cracks in my walls, broken windows everywhere and our whole backyard fence gone. But nothing could prepare us for when we opened my front door and saw people’s things and objects such as appliances and bathtubs sitting in our lawn. A few homes were completely gone! Thankfully no one died. Our home was condemned and we had to move out for 6 months while it underwent repair. We were very lucky. I will never forget how awesome the Suffolk police and fire and rescue teams were.


Sunshine Gizara: I was working at Obici in the ER at that time. The lack of warning, the sinking feeling that kids, my kids, were on buses leaving school and in childcare at Obici, the immediate flow of those injured into the department, and the unification of the hospital staff, EMS, fire/rescue, and police showed how a community comes together in times of need. I will never forget the haunting images of abandoned cars on Godwin Boulevard with doors open and windows broken or having to show proof that I was a hospital employee to return to work the next day. Weeks went by, memories fade. The images of that day, every tetanus shot given, every stitch placed, every detail, remain as vivid today as they did when they occurred. That day changed many of us forever.


Veleka Gatling: I will always remember this day, as I was the principal at Elephant’s Fork. It was an experience that I will never forget. I always knew that being a principal required ensuring that your community and school staff were taken care of. This experience validated this more than ever. The strength of the staff was absolutely amazing as we all faced many personal challenges.


Ryan Hargrave: (I was in) eighth grade at King’s Fork Middle School. Now I’ve been out of school for six years. Mannnnnn, time flies. I still remember this. My teacher and one of my friends lost their homes.


Joseph Poe: I remember I was the HR manager at Lowe’s and we watched as the tornado formed beyond the IHOP then proceeded down the path towards Burnett’s Mill. The biggest memory for me was we actually put together a lot of cleanup supplies and tools to donate and when we did, there was such an outpouring of love and sense of community by those affected and the droves of volunteers that came to help.