On the first 90-degree day of the year, Bo McClain is on his lawnmower, mowing grass to give his two-year-old son a place to play.
“He really loves it out here,” McClain said, looking around the property where he was born, raised and continues to live.
Until a tornado damaged the house his father built in 1939, that was.
“We really prayed for (the victims of the tornado in) Oklahoma, then it happened to us,” said Margaret Frame, McClain’s fiancée.
The couple, along with their son, Clinton Lewis, and Frame’s 78-year-old father, who is also blind, are trying to rebuild their lives after they were disrupted by the EF-1 tornado that ripped through the Mt. Lebanon community two weeks ago.
McClain and Frame were in the living room, awake, when it hit.
“They always say it sounds like a freight train coming through, and it does,” Frame said. “It was my first tornado I’ve been through, it’s a scary feeling.”
McClain said they heard the storm and he told his fiancée to hold on.
“When the windows blew out, I knew we were in for trouble,” McClain said.
The 74-year-old home was knocked off of its foundation, windows were broken, limbs came through the roof of Clinton’s bedroom. You can look at the corner of the living room and, because the connecting walls were pulled away from one another, see into one of the bedrooms.
Frame’s father was lying on a hospital bed near windows in the same room but, thankfully, the windows next to him remained intact.
Outside, the swings and slide connected to Clinton’s playset remain missing, toys were broken, the shed was knocked down, the gas tank and their vehicles were moved and the chicken coop was damaged.
Their five hens survived, surprisingly, and, the important part is, they did too.
But they need help rebuilding.
“It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t just have knee surgery,” McClain said.
Out of work since Thanksgiving, McClain had his first knee surgery in November and his second less than a month before the tornado hit.
“Like I told the insurance lady, we’re on a very, very tight budget around my house,” he said.
They’re not sure what will be covered by the insurance company, but will need help meeting the deductible.
“We didn’t lose any clothes or much furniture, so we don’t need those things,” he said. “Money would really go further than anything.”
After a brief hotel stay funded by the American Red Cross, the family has been renting a home in the northwest part of Covington.
To help the family, Dr. Jesse Cannon has set up a donation fund at Patriot Bank.
“I am pleading for all my friends to join me in helping a family that was a victim of the tornado that hit Covington area last week,” he said via Facebook this week.
Anyone wishing to donate to the Bo McClain fund can do so at any Patriot Bank branch. Donations can also be sent to Patriot Bank at P.O. Box 865, Covington, TN 38019.
This article was published in The Leader on June 13, 2013. Copyright © 2013 The Leader/Echo Day. Not to be republished without written consent.