Twenty minutes after she found her dog, lost in the April 19 tornado, Sarah Towery had a heart attack.
â€œHe licked my face, and then I fell over,â€ she said. â€œ… It was just a very bad week, but Iâ€™m getting stronger.â€
Towery, who is recovering from open-heart surgery, is not giving up hope.
Her manufactured home, located on Hauss Road, was destroyed in the weak tornado.
â€œI got there before the fire departments and saw that my home was gone,â€ Towery said. â€œIt was hard to see all my stuff thrown everywhere and knowing that my dog was in there all by herself.â€
Tinkerbell, a Chihuahua-mix, was found a day later.
Towery said that she considers herself â€œluckyâ€ that she was not home at the time of the storm.
â€œMy granddaughter and I would have been there … but she wanted me to take her to a sleepover,â€ Towery said.
â€œI donâ€™t know what would have happened if we were there … I mean my room was gone,â€ Toweryâ€™s granddaughter, Chelsie Caudill, said.
Towery is staying with her daughter until she fully recovers from surgery.
â€œAll Iâ€™ve got is my daughter, granddaughter and my dog,â€ she said. â€œThatâ€™s all Iâ€™ve got.â€
â€œI want to move on, but I donâ€™t know what Iâ€™m going to do,â€ Towery said. â€œIâ€™ve provided for myself and lived by myself. I just donâ€™t know where to start.â€
Losing everything in the tornado, then having a heart attack, burdened Towery financially.
â€œ … I didnâ€™t know how I was going to pay for medical bills and my medicine,â€ Towery said. â€œ … There have been people in this community who have really helped me out.â€
The Lincolnton Marine Corps League, along with the Vietnam Veterans, Disabled Veterans Association and American Legion, donated more than $1,400 to help Towery start over.
â€œThe Marine Corps League wanted to help out because her former husband was a veteran,â€ said Ray Trevino, sgt. of arms for the Lincolnton Marine Corps League. â€œOur motto is, â€˜Marines helping Marines and their families.â€™ … We knew that we had to do something.â€
Towery said that many anonymous donors also have deposited money into her bank account.
â€œI have no idea who donated the money … but they really have helped me out,â€ she said.
Towery said that she has also been â€œimpressedâ€ by the generosity of local businesses and fire departments.
â€œ … They have really gone above and beyond what they are called to do,â€ she said. â€œI canâ€™t thank them enough.â€
by Lisa Brown