BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WKRN) – Martha Alford reflected on what little remains after a tornado tore through her and her husband’s Bowling Green home. 

“We had heard bad weather was coming. We didn’t even look at the news. We just went to bed because we’re so used to it not hitting here,” Martha said. 

“This is December,” her husband Eric added.  

After enough sirens and phone alerts, however, they finally ran for the basement along with their two sons, daughter-in-law, grandbaby, and granddog.  

“The house was disappearing right on our heels, coming apart,” Eric remembered.   

He was still in the hall when the storm picked him up and threw him into a wall where his son found him. 

“Something hit me, but I imagine it was the 100 to 200 mile-an-hour winds, not really for sure what went through here, lifted me up, put my forearm through the drywall, just kind of slammed and wadded me up in the door face and I didn’t have it in me. I started crawling towards the fireplace thinking that would be pretty safe,” Eric said.

Eric Alford was picked up by a tornado as he was trying to get to safety. His arm went through the drywall. He said he barely escaped death as he was trying to get to a fireplace that later collapsed.  

Thankfully, Eric didn’t make it to the fireplace. Instead, his son found him passed out moments later. 

“And Harrison found me. I guess I was out, but found me between the recliner and another chair up against the wall and thank God I didn’t make it to the fireplace because it’s laying right where I was headed,” Eric said.  

Eric remembers waking up before his son dragged him to the basement.  

“When I opened my eyes, all I saw was the rafters of the house above me and [talking to] God saying, ‘Big ole boy save me, guide me to safety,’” Eric said.  

The family doesn’t believe they would have survived the storm had it come even 10 seconds earlier.  

“It really brings home the point how precious life is and that everything else around you is just stuff. And stuff can be replaced,” Martha said.  

 What happened to their town, including entire families lost, still cuts deep.  

“My heart breaks for the families in our town,” Martha said. “I can’t even imagine what they’re going through.   

The couple’s biggest takeaways they offer to others is to always heed weather warnings, even if you don’t think a storm will hit you, and to cherish those closest to you.   

“Hug the people you love and let the last thing you say to them be I love you just in case that’s the last thing they hear from you,” Martha urged.  

Martha and Eric were grateful for their church families, bosses, and loved ones who came to help them clean up. They said they had all of their salvageable belongings out of the house within a day of being hit. The couple is still working to get items out of their curb for FEMA.