Jo Holt lost a lot of big trees on her Coxey, Ala., property when an EF3 tornado tore through the town in April.
As the storm passed over the house she’d grown up in, the 78-year-old, her two sons and her Irish setter, Charley, hunkered down in the storm cellar her father built 75 years ago.
The house suffered only minor damage, but most of the trees, which had been planted decades ago, were destroyed.
“It was like total devastation … and it truly was,” Jo told the News Courier. She said one tree in particular, a huge red oak, had been a favorite of her father’s. The tornado snapped the tree in half.
Jo didn’t want to have the 12-foot-high stump removed, but she wasn’t quite sure what to about it. Her son Greg came up with a great idea.
“I woke up in the middle of the night one night and I said, ‘There’s not but one thing to put on it, and that’s Charley,” Greg told WHNT.
His mom contacted Bo Hancock, a chain-saw artist from Corinth, Miss. The stump was decayed in the middle, so Hancock wasn’t able to use it for the carving. Instead, he sawed Charley’s likeness from a cypress log, and used the red oak stump as its base.
Greg told WHNT that when the carving was completed, it was the first time he’d seen his mom smile since the tornado struck four months ago.
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