Businesses Destroyed in Storms - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/23/05

Businesses Destroyed in Storms

People in Screven are doing surprisingly well following yesterday's devastating tornado. They're grateful for their own safety and their families'. But their attention quickly turned to getting back to business especially when two of the biggest employers in town were practically leveled.

As he checked the damage to his business, JL Boyette says he didn't see the tornado right outside his door. He couldn't hear it for the wind and softball-sized hail.

"That was a distraction from what was happening," he told us.

The devastation and relief were overwhelming. Three generations of Boyettes run the shop and all were okay. But every camper on his lot is destroyed.

It's a similar story all across town; lots of damage but only minor injuries.

"We've got a lot of people sitting down because they don't have a job to go to this morning," said Mayor Donald Boyette.

Across the road, Derby Waters looked on as employees tried to find any tools and materials they could salvage from his cabinet shop to keep things running. "We have five or six cabinet companies in Wayne County and I've had all of them come by offering help this morning, checking on us and asking what they can do," he told us.

As many pick up the pieces of their livelihoods, they say faith brought them through the storm. "There was some power praying going on, I'll tell you," cabinet maker Kevin Brake said.

"I'm alive and that's what matters," added salesperson Heather Strickland. "He watched after us. That's what matters."

And that faith will get them back on their feet.

Both of these businesses are insured. But they say it will take time to restock or reload.

But with the help of other companies in Wayne County, Kevin Brake says they could be making cabinets somewhere as early as tomorrow. The amazing thing is how people have come together in that community.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com

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