FOREST HILL, Md. - One man knows the toll of that tornado that tore through Harford County on the first day of June. Keith Matthews was picked up and slammed down by that F-1 and it sent the concrete walls of his garage toppling down on him. After two stays at Shock Trauma in Baltimore, he’s out of the hospital. Matthews sat down with ABC2 for an exclusive interview.
Keith Matthews’ auto detailing shop still shows a few deep scars from the tornado that leveled it. But none compare to the ones on his body. Matthews’ has a mark that runs nearly from knee to hip that hides a rod in his leg. It is a permanent souvenir of survival, he says, "Even though that was a small tornado, it still turned cars up and down, still ripped garage doors off. It still can bust concrete walls in half. It landed me here in this bed."
And a hospital bed inside his Forest Hill home is where Keith will be staying for the next few weeks as he recovers from a badly broken leg, rib injuries and a busted up shoulder. He was hurt when that F-1 tornado tore apart his garage. Matthews heard it coming and by the time he looked out the window, the twister was at his door. He recalls, "There wasn't any time for uh-ohs. I bet you couldn't count to two before it was all done and over."
The storm was over in an instant and when all was said and done, Keith was trapped under a concrete wall. He was in pain and terrified, "Wondering, ‘Did anybody see this? Did anybody see me?"
Friends working nearby picked Matthews out of the rubble. And now they're picking him up. His new normal requires some adjustments, like the wheelchair ramp volunteers built at his house. Friends are also framing a plan to keep his family afloat while he's out of work. Matthews is without insurance and thinks daily about the bills that are piling up.
In addition to his injuries from the tornado, he developed a blood clot and an infection and had to be hospitalized a second time. But the outpouring of support has been overwhelming for the 44-year-old, who says, "You don't know how many friends you got until you get hurt and next thing you know they out of everywhere."
And as the community rallies around Keith, he's pulling together the strength to move forward. He says, "When you're down, nothing you can do about it. Just got to keep getting up."
Fundraisers have been planned to help Keith and his family. The first is being held Wednesday June 27 th from 4-8pm at the Waffle House at 1500 Conowingo Road in Bel Air. A portion of all purchases made there will go to help the Matthews family.
A car show fundraiser is scheduled for July 8 th in Bel Air. Donations can also be coordinated through email if you send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
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