Editor’s note: this is the second in a series of first-hand reports from Glenn Beck photographer Mark Mabry, who is on the ground in the Midwest and South surveying the damage from last week’s storms. Yesterday, he shared stunning photos from Henryville, IN. Today, he tells the gripping story of his encounter with an emotional storm victim named Andy in Crittenden, KY. Stay tuned to The Blaze and GBTV for continued coverage.
I met Andy B. just after he yelled at me to “get the hell” off of his neighbor’s yard. How was I to know that was someone’s yard? How was I to know? There was no house there, not even a foundation.
A little embarrassed I walked over to the roofless house where a man, about 30, stood inside with his back to me. There was no front or back wall on his house, just some sides. A pile of rubble was the only thing that disrupted my view. A Nissan bumper was in the doorway. His couch was standing on it’s head near the kitchen.
“Excuse me. Man, I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to offend anyone.”
He turned around. Andy had a black eye and a few scratches on his face.
“I’m sick of sight seers. Just get out of here man.”
“Dude, I’m really sorry. Are you OK?”
Looking around, “What the hell do you think?”
“This your place?”
He shook his head yes.
“Man, this sucks. I can’t even imagine what your going through.”
“I’m a single dad and now I have to deal with this sh-t”
It was Monday morning. The press was gone. There were a few tractors cleaning things up and a sweet lady in a van drove by and offered coffee or a sandwich.
“Man, I’m sorry. I’m just pissed at everything. Take your pictures, I know you have a job to do,” he softened up a little.
“Forget my job. How many kids do you have?” I put my camera down.
“I have a son. He’s five.”
“Yeah. I got him to the basement just in time.”
I looked. The basement was nothing more than a crawl space below the house.
“I laid on top of him. I thought I was going to die. I just didn’t want him to get hurt. He was saying, ‘daddy, you’re squishing me.’ I just dropped him off at daycare today.”
“When we crawled out of the basement, I saw that,” he motioned to a neighbor’s foundation, where only a makeshift flagpole now stood, “and wondered if I was going to two or four funerals this week.”
“What do you do?”
“I’m a union electrician.”
“Where’s your kid’s mom?”
“She split when he was a baby. Just after I bought this house.”
“Man, I can’t even imagine what you’re going through.”
“It sucks, man. People keep driving by and staring at me and my house. Yesterday I threw a two-by-four at some people. I’ve been yelling at people all day. Look, if you show up in a Carhartts with a chainsaw, come on in. But if you just want to stare at me, get the hell out of here.”
At this point, I felt really small. Then he said, “You’re barn door is open.” He laughed. I made the appropriate adjustment to my zipper.
“He’s been staying at my parents. Last night they had to explain to him why he saw a grown man cry…”
“Andy, someday they’ll explain to him that his daddy was ready to die to save him.”
With this, we embraced. Andy sniffed a few times and walked back into his house. It was his stuff. He was starting over.
I picked up the camera and walked away. Sorry folks, no pictures of Andy.
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