A Beauregard grandfather speaks with News 3 from his hospital bed, where he’s been since the March 3rd tornado. Dennis Clark suffered catastrophic injuries when he was thrown from his home, along with his three grandkids. Now, the grandfather of five and his family needs help building a wheelchair accessible home.
Friends of Dennis and Nancy Clark reached out to News 3’s Elizabeth White, hoping to encourage others to help the struggling family who lost their home and so much more in the storm. 46-year-old Dennis Clark tells News 3 he’s grateful he and his grandkids are alive.
“I believe 100% the Lord kept me alive and the boys alive. I don’t know what the reason is for, but eventually he will let me know,” Clark said.
The couple has custody of their five adorable grandchildren. March 3rd, the Beauregard family’s life was forever changed when their home was demolished in the tornado while Dennis was home with the boys.
“When it lifted the house up, I grabbed the boys. It blew the boys and me out of the house onto a tree and then it flipped the house over, and it landed on top of me. It took them 45-minutes to pull me out,” said Dennis Clark.
Dennis was critically injured and couldn’t move. The eldest son was able to climb out of the debris and get help for his grandfather. Three of the grandkids were also hurt, but are recovering well.
“They are my life and my world. He is the strongest man I know, and if anyone can make it out of this it’s him,” said Nancy Clark.
Dennis’ neck and back are broken in multiple places. His sternum was crushed. He also has a broken arm. He had four surgeries in five days. The hardest part for the family is knowing Dennis is now paralyzed from his chest down. He struggles when speaking about working as a forklift operator and playing ball with his family.
“I drove a standup forklift. I have been playing baseball since I was five years old. I’m 46, and I can’t sit upright. Please say a prayer for me that we will make it through with help from the good Lord,” cried Dennis.
The family’s home and most of their belongings were destroyed in the storm. They do have homeowners insurance but did not have health insurance. The family’s Go Fund Me page is barely more than $1,500, their goal is $10,000. Nancy is struggling just to pay for gas, to visit her husband at the Columbus, Georgia hospital where he will be for quite a while. When he is released, he will be in therapy.
“We need a wheelchair accessible home with ramps and bigger bathrooms and doorways all of that stuff, we are just trying to figure it out,” said Nancy.
Jenny Woodward, who owns Good Ol’ Boys restaurant in Auburn, is focusing on helping the Clark family so you can reach out to them for other ways to help.
“After the initial disaster response to the storm, we (Good Ol’ Boys), felt led to channel help to individual cases through our fundraising and outreach efforts. As a fellow homeschooling mom, I was touched when I heard what Nancy Clark and her family were going through. I immediately wanted to round up supplies to get her homeschool back up and running when she felt ready to take that step. After Nancy expressed an urgent financial need on Facebook, I also felt led to have donation money go straight to helping her family. We’re also tickled to be a part of helping Beauregard Birthdays in celebrating the birthdays of three of her children this weekend,” said Woodward.
Woodward says The Clark’s needs reach far beyond the supply drive and small fundraising effort.
“They need major help with medical expenses, getting a handicap ready home, and all the medical supplies Dennis is going to need. They’re starting with almost nothing, and I hope that raising awareness about their situation can give our community a chance to respond lovingly and generously. The outpouring of love and help has been tremendous, and I hope we can channel some of that directly to the Clarks,” shared Woodward.
Nancy and Dennis tell News 3 the community has been amazing. Friends of the family say the family needs more help, but would never ask. Dennis’ recovery will be long and arduous, any help would be appreciated.
“The good Lord will carry us through, ” Nancy believes.
If you would like to help the Clark family, you can find their GoFundMe Page at this link: Clark Family; Lee County Tornado Emergency Relief.