Elon family speaks out for first time after tornado destroyed home, injured them

Amherst County still needs money donations to help tornado victims 1 year later

By Magdala Louissaint - Lynchburg Bureau Reporter

ELON, Va. - A year to the day since an EF3 tornado hit Elon, Monday was only the second time since then John Wayne Goff has been back on his property on Elon Road.

"It happened so fast. I remember a first few parts of it, then after that I don't remember much," Goff said.

On April 15, 2018, Goff says he, his daughter Haley and son Matthew were in their mobile home when the EF3 tornado hit the Elon neighborhood.

"Wayne grabbed me and he threw me down on the floor and he told Matthew to get down. And Matthew, as soon as he ran out his room, he flew to the bathroom. Everything just went up and we all just passed out," Haley Clark said.

Goff and Haley were buried in the rubble.

Matthew Clark, who was thrown into a bathtub, made it out to go get his mother, who was working down the road.
 
"Thank God for that bathtub," Goff said, "It's not a day that goes by that I can't thank the Lord for them kids being alive because without them kids, life would've been no more good."

Goff and Haley were both injured. Goff broke both of his legs, left arm and other bones.

And the bottoms of Haley's feet were cut.

"I'm walking fine now. Everything is getting better," Haley said.

Thanks to the Amherst Habitat for Humanity, the family has been relocated, placed in a temporary home and are waiting for their new home to be built.

"We do got to thank God first, but without this team here we would be nowhere. They have been with us ever since it begun and they are still here," Goff said.

Organizers with habitat hope to break ground as early as next week.
 
"My excavator was there this morning cutting a bulldozer where the well's going to go. The first step is to make sure we've got water on that property and we'll be ready to get started on the house," Debbie Habel, executive director for Amherst Habitat for Humanity, said.

Habel said they have about $60,000 left from donations, but much of it will go towards the Goffs and other families that still need help. This means money will be running low soon, and it's still needed.
 
Organizers are asking donors to make checks payable to Amherst County's treasurer and note it as "Elon Disaster Relief."

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