'I honestly thought it was over with, this was it' police sergeant says after surviving tornado

GoFundMe page for the Fink family reached its goal of $60,000 in one day


AMHERST COUNTY, Va. – Amherst County residents followed suit with those in Danville and Pittsylvania County as they look to re-establish their lives and routines after two storms. 

The National Weather Service confirmed the first to be an EF-1 tornado and the other in Amherst County to be an EF-2, reaching speeds of up to 130 miles per hour.

The storm damaged more than 100 homes in Amherst County, completely destroying 22 of them.

Among those 22, was Gary Fink's home of 19 years. As the tornado ripped through the Elon area of Amherst County, Fink and his family huddled in the basement. When it was over, neighbors helped to pull them out as water rushed in. 

"It got dark and the whole house was shaking," he recalled. "You could hear things ripping and tearing apart, and kids were screaming. I honestly thought it was over with, this was it, my family and I were done."

It was hard for Fink to find the words to describe how it felt during those tense times. 

"I've never been so terrified in my life that I was the other night," he said. "It was terrifying. There's no words. I can't really describe the feeling that was going through my whole family."

Fink is a sergeant with the Lynchburg Police Department and while he's seen some scary sights at work, this was different. This was a relentless storm that targeted his home and his family, a family of seven, that by all accounts, has been through enough.

"My wife fought cancer for four years and she almost died two times during that period of time," Fink said. 

So now Gary and his wife, Leecy, will pick up the pieces of another hard time. But in the midst of all the damage and destruction, the Fink family is keeping the faith.

"You stay positive, you surround yourself with people and you just let God take care of the rest. That's all you can do."

A GoFundMe page for the Fink family reached its goal of $60,000 in one day.