Updated: Tuesday, 28 Apr 2009, 6:44 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 28 Apr 2009, 6:44 PM EDT
DRIVER, Va. - It wasn't a train, but a tornado that left Phyllis Murphy's antique shop a pile of rubble in Driver last year.
"My daughter actually went out of the building when it exploded, holding on to three cat cages," she recalled.
Miraculously her daughter, friends, and pets all survived the twister...and now, in just a few days, a celebration -- the opening of Harmony House Antiques -- rebuilt and off to a fresh start. But for Phyllis, and many others in Suffolk, the day of the tornado will never be forgotten.
"When I looked to the left I seen the tornado coming over."
Moments after the tornado swept through Driver, Petty Officer Malcolm Gardner watched it wipe out Freedom Plaza in Burnett's Mill, where he was working in the Navy recruiting office.
"Everything was smashed going towards the end. There was a red Chevy Cavalier hanging over my desk," he told WAVY.com.
He never thought he and fellow military members would have to put their combat rescue training to the test - in Suffolk.
"We all went into the nail salon and the nail salon was really bad. That and Sals were really bad because the nail salon had all of these sharp weapons and then you had the nail chairs flipped over on people."
Gardner says their rescue efforts after the tornado speak to the power of the military and the people of Suffolk.
"It just says that we are well trained and people should be proud of us."
Driver residents and merchants will be holding an event this Saturday to show that shops are open and the people of Suffolk have weathered the storm that hit their neighborhood one year ago today. A band, food, and shops will be open for business. The event is free and open to the public. The event will be held at Driver Village. It starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m.
For more information on the event call, (757)538-2488.
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