SPEEDWELL (WATE) – People in Campbell and Claiborne counties have been busy cleaning up and sharing their stories after Sunday night’s severe storm. A confirmed EF-3 tornado touched down in Claiborne County and the damage is widespread near the area where the two counties meet.
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Eddie Mitchell says his 130 acre farm has been in the family for over a hundred years. His hay barn was built by his great-great grandfather.
“I do use it. I’ve got two wagons still in there. I’ve got some cattle that gets in the shade in it every day,” he said.
The storm knocked the barn down and flipped the trailer over. Wind pushed the van down the hill.
“It was a very scary thing looking at it when you see stuff like that house up there on the hill, it’s unreal,” he said.
Dozens of neighbors, friends and family have come by, lending a hand in the Speedwell community’s time of need.
“It’s unreal the people who showed up wanting to help,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell says even with help, it will take weeks to repair fences and clean up debris and the barn his great-great grandfather built can’t be replaced.
“The barn’s got a lot of sentimental value, but it’s over with now. Probably have to take it apart and get my machinery and stuff out,” he said.
Jim Mullens is a pastor and the LaFollette public works director. He owns an 80 acre farm on Doaks Creek Road.
He had just left his home when the tornado hit.
“You can look at the inside if the house and there’s no way we could have survived the damage. The debris, the condition of the house, we couldn’t have survived,” he said.
The carport is gone. The metal is 100 yards away hanging in the tree line. The wind blew his van down the hill.
“It’s 125 yards over the hill. Farm machine was sitting in front of it. It’s over there with the van.”
Wind blew down his barn, flipped a trailer and tore off roofs.
The storm blew out the windows and ripped off the roof. The only thing remaining is a picture of “The Last Supper.”
“[God] uses opportunities to reach us and teach us and bring us together, but material things don’t matter,” said Mullens.
Mullens says as a man of faith, he’s just glad no one was seriously injured and says the outpouring of support and help from the community is greatly appreciated.
“That’s the kind of people we live around. We are actually one big family.”