"I couldn't believe it;" Family coping with losing home in Elon tornado, asking for help

(Valencia Jones/WSET)

ELON, Va. (WSET) - Families in Elon are combing through the rubble after Sunday's tornado.

The family of Frank James, 77, is one of them.

The storm destroyed their home, and sent Frank to the hospital.

"When they told me, I said 'Oh my God, you're joking.' I couldn't believe it," his daughter Rita Gowens said.

She said he and her stepmother, Mary Wells, crawled out of the rubble.

"Daddy had a board on his face when it hit him, and he had to take his arm and push it up off of them. It was on both of them," Gowens said.

She said their younger daughter flew through a window and landed down the embankment behind the home.

"She had to climb up the bank on her hands and knees with nothing on but a t-shirt and a pair of underwear," she said.

Fortunately, she only had scratches. Her father Frank was not so lucky.

"They kept him in the hospital for observation, because they said he's got serious bronchitis, because all he had on was a pair of pants. No shoes and no shirt," Gowens explained.

Gowens and Wells said they went through the rubble, but said there's nothing left.

"We need help. As much as we can get," Rita said.

"A whole lot of help," Mary agreed.

To help this family, contact Madison Heights Baptist Church. Organizers confirmed any donations and funds received on behalf of the family will be given directly to them.

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