Carthage Commish Aids Tornado Victims
Carthage police officers, Moore County sheriff’s deputies and others rushed to help in Tramway, Jonesboro Heights and other areas of Sanford torn asunder by a tornado that formed here, but struck those areas and others on its beeline drive to the state capital.
One who went was Lee McGraw, a town commissioner of Carthage. McGraw is a biker and belongs to a local club, the Harley Owners Group — “HOG” for short. He and his wife Annette have many friends in that area. One is Junior Ward, president of the Carthage Rotary Club. McGraw e-mailed club members about his experience.
“The Harley chapter here has a lot of members who live in Sanford,” McGraw said. “Annette and I spent all morning and then some there helping find valuables like photos and such.”
He heard tales of joy and tales of sorrow.
“Three houses in a row of our friends were demolished,” he said. “Cindy and Kevin Busick’s home was leveled … and I mean leveled. They dug Cindy out from under the rubbish after an hour, and she was released from the hospital last night (Sunday).”
Other friends had losses, but were thankful to have missed the storm’s danger themselves.
“Chris and Susie Isenhour lost their home, but they were both away,” he said. “Then there is Ronnie Hunter — really bad luck here. He has been unemployed for a couple of months.”
Out of work and at home when the twister hit head on, Hunter barely escaped with his life.
“His home was destroyed,” McGraw said. “He pulled the couch on top of himself at the last second. His work tools and tool trailer were destroyed. He was in a daze with little or no sleep because the worst did not happen to him.”
That happened when the storm took Hunter’s brother, McGraw wrote.
“His brother, Mike Hunter — who lived close in a mobile home — was home,” McGraw said. “The twister blew his place apart. They found him in the woods alive, but he died shortly thereafter.”
Ward e-mailed other Rotarians that he was all right, but others badly need help. His job site at Lowe's Home Improvement Center has become a national symbol of the storm's destruction.
“I am safe and doing OK,” Ward wrote. A lot of damage here in Sanford — the Lowe’s I worked at is destroyed. Thank God everyone (there) was spared. Pray for the cleanup to come.”
McGraw took photos of a destroyed home and overturned car where he was helping the family search for precious memories. He felt a sense of unreality despite the clear and brutal reality all around him.
“I have seen this on television,” he wrote. “But never that much, that close. Thank God Junior is OK.”
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