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Storm put woman’s life into perspective

POSTED: March 31, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Tom Reed/The Times

On March 20, 1998, a tornado nearly destroyed the home of Martha Trusty on Newtown Drive near Hopewell Church Road. The bedroom where she sat when the storm struck was the only room left intact in the house.

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Editor’s note: Martha Trusty had to take cover when her Newtown Drive home was hit by the tornado that ripped through North Hall County 10 years ago today. She shares her experiences in her own words.

At about 6:30 a.m., on March 20, 1998, I was awakened by a noise that sounded to me like a jet plane revving its engine for takeoff. My first thought was, "It’s a plane crash." I started to get up to see what was going on, then, I had a strong feeling that I just needed to stay where I was. So, I covered up in a heavy comforter for protection.

In just a moment, everything got so quiet. I threw back the covers and looked to see if I still had a floor. I found my room intact, so I jumped up and ran to the closet to get some clothes and found almost the entire roof and ceiling from my home was gone. My bedroom was the only undemolished room in my home.

I threw on some clothes and ran to check on my neighbors. My home was gone, but I was OK. None of my close neighbors needed immediate help, so I started back up the hill to where my house had been. My husband had passed away three years before, so I was alone, and that was the loneliest walk I have ever taken. Everything my husband and I had worked for all our lives was literally "gone with the wind."

I went to bed that morning at about 4:30 a.m. after arriving home from working the night shift. When I had gone to bed that morning, I had a house, a car, a truck and all the possessions and little things that make a home.

When I was awakened two hours later, I was homeless and walking, but I was still able to walk. I learned very quickly exactly how much family, friends and loving strangers can mean in a time of need.


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