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Couple calls themselves lucky after Wednesday storm

Vicky and Bill Cole consider themselves lucky. But surveying the damage and destruction at their Lowery Road residence in the Virgilina area of Halifax County, one must think the Coles are not seeing what everyone else sees. High winds peeled back a portion of the tin roof and vinyl roof facing on their home like opening a sardine can. The winds shattered glass windows in the enclosed porch area of the house and destroyed the garage and another outbuilding on the property.

Anyone walking through the Coles’ front yard Wednesday morning had to step carefully to avoid treading upon shards of broken glass or a random portion of a metal window frame.

Vicky Cole said she had learned of the storm in the Midwest and had followed its progress on television.

“I had been watching the Weather Channel all day,” she said. “I called my son at Ferrum (College) and told him about the storm.”

Cole said Tuesday night she had trouble sleeping and turned again to the television.

“I went in the living room about 2 in the morning and turned on the Weather Channel again,” she explained. “At about 3 the lights started dimming.”

At that point she said she went to get her husband and daughter. “We have a plan if a storm or anything hits, we get behind the sofa and cover ourselves with pillows,” Cole said. “I heard what sounded like a roaring sound, and we got behind the sofa.

“I heard what sounded like explosions from the closed-in porch, glass was going everywhere, and I had what felt like pressure in my ear,” she continued. “I also heard things hitting the house, and the roaring got louder.”

Cole said the ceiling in their bedroom fell in.

“My husband had said he was going back to bed, but if he had, the ceiling would have fallen on him,” she said. “After it was over, my husband said a prayer. We went on to sleep and didn’t know any more until this morning.”

With daylight, the Coles were able to see the level of destruction upon their property in the wake of the rapidly moving storm.
“Little did we know how blessed we were until we saw the destruction,” Cole said. “God had His hand on us.”

News of what happened at the Coles’ residence quickly spread through their community and beyond, and relatives, friends and neighbors came to offer their help.

“Our community, friends and church family have been so good to us,” she said. “We feel so blessed the way they came together for us.

“I just know after the sun came up our house was still standing, and how lucky we were,” she added.

Cole said she reads a devotion everyday, and said the scripture for Wednesday was particularly fitting: Isaiah 43:2, “When thou passest through the waters, I [will be] with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” (KJV)

The Coles emerged from their ordeal shaken but alive and well and thankful they were together to face the days ahead of cleaning up and rebuilding.

“No one got hurt in our community,” Cole said. “Damaged things can be fixed or replaced, people can’t.”