Rossville woman says tornadoes were "a blessing in disguise" - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Rossville woman says April 27th tornadoes were "a blessing in disguise"

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ROSSVILLE, GA (WRCB) - Many of the April 27th tornado victims look back on the year of hardships they've had with a new perspective. One Rossville woman says she now thinks losing her home in the powerful storm, was a blessing in disguise.

Jo Ann Carden was diagnosed with polio as a baby and struggles to walk. She was home alone on April 27th as an EF-3 tornado moved through Walker County with 150 miles per hour winds. She was unable to get to a tornado safe place in the house, but somehow survived. Her home was a total loss, but she says her life is now better because of it.

Jo Ann Carden looks at pictures from last April-- remembering crawling into the floor from her bed as powerful winds pounded her Rossville home. She'd planned on showering, but decided to wait until the storm passed.

"It would've killed me. That's where the main trunk of the tree fell," Carden said.

A huge oak tree crashed into her home, splitting the roof and trapping her inside.

"The Lord let me live for some reason," Carden said.

She stayed composed, waiting for help, thinking of lyrics from her favorite hymn.

"Sometimes he calms the storm, and sometimes he calms me. And I think that's truly what happened," Carden said.

Two neighbors yelled through the rubble to see if she'd survived.

"I said you'll have to carry me because I don't have my brace on and he said well that's ok," Carden said.

They pulled Jo Ann out through a window.

"I just well up in tears how the neighbors came to the rescue," Carden said.

Her home of 32 years was a total loss, but she had insurance and says she was finally able to build the home she needed.

"I never would've dreamed," Carden said.

The old house needed work the Cardens couldn't afford. She says now those worries are gone and the more spacious, open floor plan makes it much easier for her to get around.

"Having to use my arms with the crutches is like walking on your hands," Carden said.

Sitting on her piano, is a slide show of how her new home came to be.

"It was a blessing," Carden said.

She says she and her husband were going through tough times financially last year and considered dropping their home owner's insurance. She's very thankful they hadn't yet.

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