Optics Shop aids coworker in need
By Mr. Art Powell
| | March 8, 2007
MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- When a deadly string of tornados swept across south Georgia the night of March 1, Maintenance Center Albany employee Steve Prewitt did what many people did that stormy night. He worried about the safety of his family and friends and stayed tuned to his weather radio.
“About midnight, the weather radio said there was a tornado approaching the house. So I got my wife and son and put them in a closet near the bathroom,” he said.
Then he heard the frightening sound of a tornado.
“We heard that tornado freight train sound so I got on top of my son and wife and the whole house started shaking and everything was falling in the closet and the windows were blowing out,” said the Mitchell County resident.
When it was over his family was unhurt, so the huskily built Prewitt went outside to check on his neighbors and was relieved to find they had also survived the terrifying encounter with one of the strongest forces in nature.
While nobody was seriously injured in his neighborhood, there was property damage at Prewitt and his neighbors’ homes. Trees were down and roofs and windows were damaged or gone. The storms not only killed people, they did tens of millions of dollars damage in three states.
When sun rose Friday, Prewitt had a decision to make. His wife and son were safe and staying with family, and he had a golf date to play in the Inaugural Commanding General’s Challenge Cup at the Flint River Golf Course. It had been scheduled before the terrible storms hit.
“I was waiting for the insurance people to come and Dan Miller, my work leader in the optic shop came by to check on me. So I joked that I was going to go play golf to get my mind off this. And he said that’s exactly what I should do. I thought about it and decided what better way to get my mind off this than to go frustrate myself on the golf course!” laughed Prewitt, who said “anything under 100” is a good game.
But little did he know that the worst kind of weather would bring out the best in his friends.
Miller wanted to help.
“I talked to employees in the optics shop, and we were going to be working 12 hours overtime tomorrow, but we have a friend in need. So we decided to forgo the overtime. A lot of them are out right now organizing things and getting chain saws and tarps. We’ll go over to Steve’s house tomorrow to do whatever we can to help him,” Miller said.
Prewitt said he had 50 mature pecan trees before the storm hit. Now maybe five are still standing. The roof on his home is damaged, the windows blew out and debris is scattered everywhere.
“No one in my family was injured, so we were lucky,” said Prewitt.
Those affected by the terrible night of the tornados will always remember them. But for Prewitt, he and his family will have something else to remember — what friends are all about.