(PHOTO: Josh Nichols looks into the hole a branch from a sweet gum tree left in the roof of his Fulton house during last week's storm. – Photo by Ray Van Dusen)
By RAY VAN DUSEN
As local broadcast stations went from primetime TV shows to continuous coverage of last Tuesday night's violent storms, Becky Nichols made sure her three sons were out of harm's way, safe at the home of Mark and Tonya Jackson.
As the F-2 tornado crossed the Lee-Itawamba County line and tore into the Shiloh community, the Nichols and Jacksons were unaware of what the weather was doing outside.
“We had no clue what damage it did until we got home between 11:30 and 12:00. As soon as the headlights hit the house, we saw it was covered with leaves and limbs,” said Becky's son, Josh Nichols, who had dreamed the night before a tree hit their home.
The closer they got to the house, the more the ironic JoshÕs dream seemed. A large limb from a sweet gum tree fell an estimated 60 feet onto the roof of the house and part of it pierced the ceiling of a bedroom.
Bad came to worse as the next morning's rain soaked the inside of the house.
The rain got inside the walls, destroyed cabinets and ruined mattresses. In the aftermath of the storm, the Nichols also found cracks in the foundation they had never seen before.
Following the rain came the endless work to move out their belongings and clean up the mess.
People like Matt Upton, Thomas Henson, John Henson, Tristen Edwards, the staff of Trinity Baptist Church and the Women's Hope Ministries have reached out to the Nichols during their difficult time.
Becky's husband, Patrick Nichols, who has been on active duty with the Army Reserve since January, was granted a few days leave from Camp Shelby to help his family.
“I've been renting this house with an option to buy for close to a year, but I guess this is God's way of telling me not to do it,” Patrick said.