“Angels come in many forms.”
Those were the words spoken by Effingham County resident Herb Jones Wednesday morning as he looked out over his property, surveying the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Matthew. Winds from the hurricane knocked down more than 40 trees on his property, blocking the driveway to his home and creating more problems than any person should have.
The downed trees littered the property and would have been nearly impossible for Herb to move – or expensive to have a contractor move – if not for the man who decided to step in and help – the angel.
David Christman is a helicopter pilot for AirEvac and operates out of a base in Douglas, GA every other week. He served as a pilot with tours in Afghanistan before making his home in Effingham County, just a short walk away from Herb’s property.
After the conclusion of Hurricane Matthew, Effingham County was left with major damage. Like any good neighbor, David decided to walk to the Jones’ residence on Monday morning to check on Herb and his wife, Kay. When he reached the property, he saw the damage that Hurricane Matthew had inflicted.
“Monday morning, I got up and wanted to make sure they were alright,” David said. I walked down the road, made sure that there were no trees on the house and found out that they weren’t home.”
Herb and Kay had left their home before the hurricane hit and traveled up north to escape its path of destruction. When David saw that the pathway to the home was blocked by dozens of downed trees, he knew he needed to help.
“I thought, ‘well, they’re going to have to get to their house’,” David said. “I had a chainsaw and the energy to do it, so I did it. I waited until the wind died down because I didn’t want any of the trees coming down on me. Right around lunch, the wind died down and I grabbed the chainsaw, came down in the truck and started cutting and rolling.”
David enlisted the help of a friend, Billy Hardwick, and the two went to work clearing the property.
“I had a friend of mine come over and then the neighbor (Josh Colvard) that lives behind us pulled up and we all just jumped on it,” David said. “There was nothing else to do – we didn’t have power and we couldn’t go anywhere. Instead of getting in the way of someone else, I just cleared his driveway.”
Of the more than 40 trees – most of them pine trees – was a white oak that stretched more than 30 feet tall and equally as wide at the top. Another downed tree that the trio of quasi-lumberjacks cut into held the contents of a live beehive with many buzzing inhabitants traumatized by the actions of both the hurricane and the chainsaw.
David said that he, Billy and Josh worked at clearing the property for more than six hours on Monday afternoon with each man wielding a chainsaw along with help from a tractor to pull the multi-hundred-pound logs.
“It took the three of us all of Monday afternoon – about six to eight hours,” David said. “I came out Tuesday and finished it up.”
David worked for eight hours on Tuesday with a chainsaw and the tractor to cut and move the trees by himself.
His reason was simple.
“I just wanted to make sure he could get to his house,” David said. “I know everybody wants to get to their house and I didn’t have any damage so I might as well help somebody else that did.”
On Wednesday morning, both Herb and David were continuing to cut and move the trees. Most of the brush and many of the logs and limbs still needs to be removed.
“We’re going to try to burn the brush,” David said. “If someone wants any of the big logs, they can have them.”
Some of the logs have already been claimed by David himself.
“Some of it - like the big knots – I’m going to make tables out of them,” David said. “Other than that, it’s going to make some good firewood.”
Whether or not you believe in them or not, Angels have a way of making themselves be seen – this one just happened to be wielding a chainsaw.