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“A part of me is gone”: East Texan recalls how his wife was killed by a tornado

“I said ‘Give me your hands, let’s pray.’ When I did, the tree came down. ...”
Deadwood, a small community east of Carthage, is picking up the pieces after a reported EF-2...
Deadwood, a small community east of Carthage, is picking up the pieces after a reported EF-2 tornado touched down.(KSLA)
Updated: Mar. 29, 2021 at 6:21 PM CDT
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DEADWOOD, Texas (KSLA) — The East Texas community of Deadwood, just east of Carthage, is picking up the pieces after a reported EF-2 tornado touched down in the community Saturday night.

The severe storm left a woman dead and multiple people hurt. The Panola County sheriff says Cynthia Laird was killed when a tree crashed down on her home.

Her husband, Edward Laird, said they had just gotten back to their mobile home after going into town that afternoon.

“I heard a tree over my shoulder fall. I said give me your hands, let’s pray,” Laird recalled. “When I did, the tree came down. She never knew what hit her.”

He said the tree missed him by mere inches.

“I tried to dig,” Laird said. “I kept digging. I called 911. They got there about 20 minutes after I called. They started cutting and more people kept coming and coming. My yard was full of people trying to help.”

Laird said the outpouring of support from the community has been overwhelming.

Todd Andrews, pastor of Deadwood United Pentecostal Church, took Laird to get breakfast on Sunday.

“We pulled up in the driveway and there was people coming down the road with chainsaws, axes, trackers, backhoes, any equipment they could get in here,” Laird said. “They started at about 9 o’clock and they worked until 7 last night.”

That’s just what small-town residents do, come together when their community needs them the most, he added.

“I can’t help but cry,” Laird said. “A part of me is gone and it’s never coming back.

“In my heart, I know where she is at. She’s with Jesus. She’s probably looking down right now,” he continued.

“Speaking with the pastors in the community, they told me when it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go. No matter where you’re at. I feel like it was her time, but it wasn’t mine. That’s as close to death as I’ve ever come to in 55 years.

“But everyone in this community has pulled together. I thank God for them. This is a small community, but the people in it are as good as gold.”

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