Woman still recovering in hospital weeks after Killona tornado

Published 8:52 am Saturday, January 7, 2023

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KILLONA — Weeks after an EF-2 tornado tore through Schoolhouse Road in Killona, 62-year-old Gail Bradley remains hospitalized with injuries, without a home or belongings to return to.

Bradley sustained fractures to her knee and elbow after being pinned between a door and a dresser when the tornado struck her home the afternoon of December 14. According to Bradley’s sister, Charlotte Lewis, she is on the mend but may require knee surgery if her current pain level persists.

“She’s been stressing about her home. All she has seen is pictures we have taken, and we had to stop doing that because it makes her cry. She lost everything in her home, but we didn’t lose her, which is a good thing,” Lewis said. “All the rest of the stuff, we can replace and rebuild, but we can’t start all over with her. I’m glad my sister is still here.”

Last month’s severe weather outbreak claimed three lives, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. The Killona tornado claimed the life of 56-year-old Allison Alexander, while a separate tornado from the same line of storms claimed the lives of a 30-year-old mother and her 8-year-old son in Caddo Parish.

Bradley was home alone when the tornado struck, but her family believes a guardian angel was by her side during her darkest moments.

In the early afternoon, before the tornado touched down, Bradley’s nephew felt called to drive hours from his home in Lake Charles to Killona. Around his neck, he wore a chain with a photo of Bradley’s oldest son, Melvin, who passed away last year.

When Bradley’s nephew arrived in Killona, he was met with wreckage strewn across Schoolhouse Road. A firefighter was rescuing an injured Bradley from her home. When Bradley spotted her nephew and the photo on his chain, her demeanor changed, and she said, “My son is here with me. My son sent me help.”

Lewis said her sister is still in need of everything, from kitchen appliances to home furniture and, most of all, prayers.

“She’s a church-going woman who has always worked hard. Everything she has accomplished was in that home, and I know it would crush her to see it the way that it is,” she said.

Physical donations are being accepted at 158 W. Fourth St. in Edgard, LA 70049. Bradley’s clothes sizes are 2X or 20/22 and shoe size 9.

A GoFundme page has been set up at www.gofundme.com/f/my-sister-from-the-tornado. Donations can also be submitted through CashApp at $Blimp73 or via Zelle at 985-210-7617.

“My heart is full right now because I have people reaching out to me to help my sister, and I really appreciate it,” Lewis said.