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One story: Harrowing ordeal recounted by storm survivor

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Dec. 18, 2000
After being pinned by a pine tree, rescued on a pontoon boat and driven through the woods on a four-wheeler as she lay on a backboard, Faye Odom said she is just glad to be alive.
Saturday's storm was unforgiving on Odom's Dalewood home, one of nearly 100 homes damaged by the onslaught, according to Lauderdale Emergency Management Agency Director Eddie Ivy.
Split into sections by large pine trees, Odom's crushed mobile home will eventually be replaced by a doublewide. But nothing will erase the memories of the violent storm from her mind.
She had been home alone with her husband, Jim, the morning of the storm, she recalled in a Sunday interview.
"We didn't know anything was going on. Our power had just gone out. I had walked out on the porch and was fumbling with the radio to see if they were saying anything on there, and I looked up and saw it was real hazy back that way," Odom said, motioning to where the storm first hit the lakeside mobile home park. "Then we heard this God-awful roar like a train coming through. I mean a big train. I ran toward the kitchen, and I think I laid down on the floor.
"The next think I knew I was screaming. I could feel the rain hitting me, and I looked up and saw the sky and said, 'Thank God I'm still alive.'"
Odom had been pinned by a large pine tree that crashed through the trailer.
Rescue workers couldn't reach the Odoms, whose street had been covered with snapped and downed trees. Instead, they drove a four-wheeler to the edge of a nearby canal, and, using tree limbs, guided a pontoon boat across the canal to Odom's home.
On a backboard, Odom was put on the pontoon boat and pushed to the other side of the canal. Once there, she was put on a four-wheeler and driven to a waiting ambulance.
With her arm in a sling, Odom watched Sunday's cleanup of the devastation.
"We're going to put a doublewide in because we own the lot behind us, too," she said. "We've been here for 12 years. We plan to stay."
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.

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