Local Family Witnesses Devastating Eastern Shore Tornado

CBS19 spoke with a local family that was on the Eastern Shore when the EF-1 tornado ripped through their campsite on Thursday morning.

( Roswell Henderson )

July 25, 2014

Roswell Henderson and his family often take a trip out to Cherrystone Family Campground and say it's a great way to meet new people, but their latest trip is something they will never forget.

In a phone interview, Roswell describes in great detail what happened leading up to the tornado that ripped through their campsite and the devastating aftermath.

"I'd just gotten back with the dogs and the storms were getting really close and my wife said your phone just went off, they say there's a tornado warning to seek shelter," says Henderson.

He along with his wife Marcia and their 13-year-old son Greg drive down from Charlottesville at least once a year for their annual camping trip.

"It's a family when you're camping. Everyone is a distant family member that you've never met. Everyone will do what they can for others and that was when the calls and the cries and the screams were coming from every direction," he says.

Roswell says his family was just 100 feet away from where a New Jersey couple was killed after a tree fell on their campsite.

He says there were campers flipped on their sides, others completely destroyed and trees fallen all around.

He describes how one of his campsite neighbors survived a near-death experience.

"The lady had heard the noise starting and she got up out of bed to go to the window to look and when she got up out of the bed, that was when the tree feel through her bedroom," he says.

Roswell thankful his family survived the tornado says the frightening experience will forever impact his life.

"After having seen how quickly something can be taken from you as a family or as a person, stuff is stuff, it doesn't matter but you appreciate your friends and family more."

After spending most of the day at an emergency shelter Roswell and his family left Cherrystone yesterday and headed to another campground in Virginia Beach to continue their vacation.

Roswell says while this tornado definitely scared his family it won't change any future plans and they will be back at Cherrystone Family Campground next year.


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