Picking up the pieces after the storm

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Sheryl Crampton stood over the remains of her home.

“Here it is,” she said. “It’s gone.”

Saturday morning, severe weather completely destroyed Crampton’s trailer, and damaged other homes and vehicles in her neighborhood.

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Crampton said that the weather radio woke her up, and after turning on her television, she decided that “this one was big”.

“I got up, made my bed, brushed my teeth, and got some wet clothes out of the washer,” she said.

She then called her fiancee, Timothy Richburg to see if he was aware of the bad weather.

“It got really quiet outside all of a sudden and my dog was running around in circles,” said Crampton. “As I came down the hall, this window blew out and the wall collapsed on me. I told people that the Lord laid it on me because it kind of bumped me, and pushed me against the other wall.”

“I know this is going to sound weird, but I felt the Lord’s hand on my shoulder, so I stood there calmly,” she said.

Crampton said that as she stood in the hall, she looked into the sky and saw a black, swirling cloud pass over the trailer.

“I looked up, and there it was,” she said. “I know they say it was not a tornado, but from down here, it looked like one. That’s when I felt the Lord because I know He was keeping me calm.”

Emergency Management Agency Director Brett Howard said that Crampton’s home was destroyed from straight-line winds in excess of 100 mph.

“I got to the end of the hall, and everything in the kitchen was at the end of the hall,” she said. “I told Tim that I could not get out, and he told me that I had to.”

“I was telling her to go to her daddy’s shop that’s sitting out there behind the trailer,” Richburg said.

Crampton then pushed the debris from her kitchen aside, and made her way out of the trailer.

She started toward the shop in her backyard, but its roof had blown off and the gas fumes from a broken line overpowered her.

Her carport, which had been ripped from its concrete foundation, had hit and damaged her truck.

“My truck was sitting right here, so I got in it and drove around to the road, but trees blocked my way,” she said.

Crampton then went across the street to the home of her neighbor, Pam Kyser.

“Sheryl was very, very upset,” said Kyser.

“Sometimes it’s really hard because I’ve lived here for 38 years,” said Crampton. “We moved here when I was five – I grew up here.”

Still, she has kept a bit of her humor.

“Tim has a house of his own as well. I was having trouble deciding who was going to get rid of what. I don’t have that problem anymore,” she said with a slight smile.

She has also kept her original plans to marry Richburg on May 22.

“All I lost was my veil,” said Crampton. “And you can have a wedding without a veil.”

“It just was bad, but I’m thankful to the Good Lord that He spared her,”said Richburg. We’re still going down the isle.”

“This was going to be our home,” said Crampton. “I get sad sometimes, but I’m starting a new life, and I’m going to start in a new place with new things. I guess that’s just the way it needs to be.”

Crampton currently lives in Richburg’s trailer, and he has moved in with his parents. She said that all of her clothes, her mother’s china cabinet, and a few appliances were saved.

“We’re going to clean up, get out what we can, then have someone come in and take the walls down and clear the lot,” said Crampton. “We are then going to build a small house that can be expanded, or buy another trailer.”

“But, we are not putting it right here,” she said with a laugh. “We’re going to move it over and put it in a different spot.”