Rincon woman recalls being struck by lightning in 1979 - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Rincon woman recalls being struck by lightning

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Bonnie Cleland Bonnie Cleland

More than 30 years ago, lightning struck a Rincon woman and her metal umbrella just feet from her home during a thunderstorm.

It's Severe Weather Awareness Week in Georgia and Thursday's focus is lightning. Bonnie Cleland and her family respect the weather have every reason to do so. 

In 1979, Cleland was struck by lightning and went into cardiac arrest for more 45 minutes.

"My husband started CPR; tried to give me CPR. He didn't really know it at the time, but he gave me enough breath - just enough - to get some into my lungs," she said.

Cleland was burned over several areas of her body and was in the hospital for days. Her family who saw her hit that day watches out for her too.

"My children have a message for me. When they hear the thunder and the lightning they call and we all sit down and sort of talk, but if I'm outside, they're going to call me," she said.

She recall much about that day in 1979, but she remember exactly what her husband said right before the lightning strike.

"He did say to me as he handed me the umbrella, 'You're going to get me killed,'" she recalled.

Bonnie said she has learned to live with a little nerve damage and usually doesn't use an umbrella. But the one she owns now has a wooden shaft.  

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