Donations help Dortches couple get new home after tornado destroyed it

Diane Wilson Image
Saturday, October 14, 2023
Donations help Dortches couple get new home after tornado destroyed it
Nash County couple receives new home after tornado destroyed theirs in July.

DORTCHES, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Nash County couple is in a new home, thanks to the generosity of friends, neighbors, and complete strangers.

Michael Poythress and Deborah Moore barely survived the EF-3 tornado that ripped through Nash County back in July. The couple and their dog hid in a bathtub when the storm arrived. The twister picked them up with the tub and flung them 30 yards away.

"I was holding on to her nightgown and my dog, and this is the result," Poythress told ABC11 shortly after it happened. "We came out of it, but nothing we owned did."

The tornado injured multiple people and left widespread damage.

They lost everything when the tornado picked their home off its foundation and tore it to pieces.

The couple had no hope of rebuilding. They had no insurance because it had become too expensive and they let it lapse.

"I don't have anything to rebuild with this is it. Everything I had was put into this home. The furnishings, the appliances, the house itself. It was only a year old," Poythress said.

Poythress wasn't even sure how he would be able to clean up the damage, much less rebuild.

"Friends and neighbors and strangers came and cleaned it all up. With no cost. It's just gone. It was like it was like there was no trace of it." The generosity didn't stop there. "People would stop with us in public and hand us money. They recognized us from television, her in particular, and they would stop us in stores and at a Food Lion or anywhere we went. They'd stop and hand her money," Poythress said.

Through an online fundraising site, the couple raised more than $26,000 and then they got word of even more donations.

The tornado cut a path 16.5 miles long and had peak winds around 150 miles per hour.

"The United Way contacted us, and they said, through donations to their tornado fund, that they were going to contribute to us to acquire a new home," Poythress added.

The couple is now in their new home. They're enjoying ever square foot of it and they're still stunned this happened to them.

Nash County couple is in a new home thanks to friends, neighbors and strangers.

"I'm grateful for our people who contributed -- our family, my friends, I could just keep going and going, from people I don't even know," Moore said.

Walking into his new home Poythress says puts him at ease. "It's just it's lovely. Very grateful to have it."

As the couple settles into their new home, they want to make sure everyone knows how much they appreciate the support and hope this community has given them.