Joyner home untouched amid devastation

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com Beth Kennard stands in her back yard in the Joyner neighborhood on Wednesday in front of an oak tree that was planted in 1954 and was among the very few trees in the neighborhood to survive the tornado.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Beth Kennard stands in her back yard in the Joyner neighborhood on Wednesday in front of an oak tree that was planted in 1954 and was among the very few trees in the neighborhood to survive the tornado.

By Chris Kieffer

Daily Journal

TUPELO – When Monday’s tornado roared through Tupelo’s Joyner neighborhood, Beth and Thomas Kennard were among a large group taking shelter at Parkway Baptist Church.

Once the twister passed and they emerged, they saw trees down everywhere. Houses were damaged, and cars were smashed.

They then looked toward their home at 1225 Frances and found it intact. The large oak tree in their backyard stood strong, as did a magnolia tree near the driveway and a holly bush in the front.

“She is strong,” Beth Kennard said of the oak. “She is the only one left.”

Beth’s father built the house in 1953 and planted the oak the following spring.

She and her husband moved there in 2011 and had the tree trimmed two or three years ago. Perhaps, Beth said, that helped on Monday, when it stood eerily untouched amid so much damage.

“We were so fortunate,” Beth Kennard said. “I looked at Thomas and said we were so fortunate.”

They also found an odd scene when they reached their porch, where many items were affixed to the screen.

“They always say a tornado will suck things out of the house,” she said. “Everything was stuck to the back-wall screen.”

chris.kieffer@journalinc.com