Neighbors helping neighbors when tornado sends tree into home in Guyton

GUYTON, Ga (WSAV) – Clean up is going to take weeks for neighbors in Bulloch and Effingham county after Thursday’s tornado.

Minda McLendon and her mom woke up Thursday to a tree crashing into their kitchen. She has no insurance. So neighbors and county groups have stepped in to help in a way she never expected.

“I’m overwhelmed really I am, I’m very overwhelmed and I am very thankful, I’m very grateful there is no gratitude that you can give in a situation like that,” says McLendon.

McLendon and her mom spent Thursday morning trying to keep their home from being split in half by this tree that had trapped them inside.

“We did call 911, I called my brother first and we called 911 after that and the cops had to come and kick the door in.”

It did not take long for help to come though. Like many families and homes around Guyton, Stilson and Pineora, neighbors stepped in to help one another.

“Actually a neighbor has done most of the work to help us out and help us rebuild,” says Scott Thompson who heads the Effingham Voluntary Organization Active during Disasters.

That neighbor Thompson is referring to is Ben Smith. He lives right across from McLendon and he alongside the Cox family saw the damage firsthand.

“When I got up to go to work that morning, I got to look across there was a little bit more light, saw the tree in the house to ask what we could do,” says Smith.

Smith alongside other neighbors made calls and got the tree off the home in less than a day. Effingham disaster relief volunteers and local church groups continue tree removal. The kitchen though is a total loss.

“Right now we just need some hands if you are framer or know how about building a home, we could use the hands,” says Thompson.

The roof has to be replaced. Making matters worse, McLendon still had trees in her yard from hurricane Matthew. The back of her land was torched from a wildfire and now a tree cut threw her home. All of it she never expected to happen, just like this outpouring of help that came from those right across the street.

“It’s just been one thing after the other and I’m thankful I really am.”

There is an active GoFundMe to help the family with paying for restoring kitchen ware and appliances.

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