HARRIS COUNTY, Ga. — Sandy Knight usually opens on the weekends at the Breaking Bread restaurant in Downtown Hamilton. With no power due to storms over the weekend, Knight and the shop's owner, Ann Hammond, are just working to save what food they can. However, Knight has bigger battles on her mind.
Knight said Sunday morning she heard thunder rumble, and what was later identified as a tornado, rip through her community in Pine Mountain. Knight decided to hide in the hallway of her home and pray for her life. The tornado that came through– tore the roof off her home and scattered soaked insulation everywhere.
“You hear nothing out here until yesterday you heard a train coming through," Knight said. “The dogs were on top of me inside there. All of us were shaking like a leaf. It only lasted about six minutes."
Outside, the twister upended her horse trailer, and Knight lost one of her horses, Skye, in the storm. Knight said she had a close call with a tornado that touched down just miles from her home in January, but this latest twister literally hit home for her.
"It's scary, you never thought this would happen to you," Knight said. “All my family is up there. They were watching over me. And then, I’d seen everybody coming up to help, and that means so much to me.”
Tornadoes snapped limbs off several trees throughout the City of Pine Mountain, along with Troup, Meriwether and Baldwin Counties. It also left debris scattered across people's homes and yards.
Hammond and her family are helping to clean up their neighbors' yards and homes. The family is raising money for Knight to figure out her next steps in finding a permanent home.
"Mother nature is just relentless," Hammond said. "She hits wherever she wants to, and the damage left behind is sad. That’s why we live in small towns. People like to make fun of it and know everybody’s business. But in time of need, that’s a good thing to know everyone’s business because people are just willing to help out. It’s just the southern way.”
Hammond encouraged people to donate blood and give away any extra clothes or possessions to those impacted by the storm. Eventually, Knight will go back to work, and eventually, she will have her own home again. For now, she said she would take things one step at a time.
"It wouldn’t be the first time I started over, and it won’t be the last," Knight said. "I really don’t want to lose the place because I love it out here. But I’m a strong person, so I’m going to put one foot in front of the other.”
Anyone interested in helping Knight can find more details online here.