Sterlington resident begins the road to recovery after tornado demolishes home


STERLINGTON, La. (04/14/2020) — The sound of chainsaws can be heard in the distance and that’s the sound of recovery.

Gary Mathes says it was Easter as normal as it could be, given the coronavirus outbreak, until a tornado ripped threw his home.

“It got a little scary, got a little hairy around here.”

Gary Mathes, Sterlington Resident

The National Weather Service confirms an Ef-2 tornado with wind speeds of up to 130 miles per hour and it came right in through Mathes back door plowing down the front.

“I had my wife and just hold on, that’s it. You don’t have time to think about a lot of stuff,” he said as he recalled the moments as it happened.

Holding on for life, the home Mathes thought was his forever became piles of broken glass and snapped trees; Further changing the face of a pandemic that shook the world.

“Back here the last two or three days, we didn’t know COVID-19 existed if you want to know the truth,” said Mathes.

However, it’s back to work for the cotton farmer.

“You know you can’t take off a week and not plant cotton. It’s dry you plant cotton. You miss planting season you miss a year.”

Gary Mathes, Sterlington Resident

While Mathes has to figure out what’s next, he says there is still a silver lining.

“Lucky to be alive, lucky to be alive.”

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