WINGO, Ky. (AP) — Victims of the deadly tornadoes in the Midwest and South scoured the debris of what was once their homes, trying to salvage pieces of their lives.

Tommy Jackson’s house in Mayfield collapsed during the storm, and he stayed the first night afterward with his brother. The next morning, his brother told him he’d been hollering in the night, and Jackson suspects he was reliving the horror he’d endured.

“It happened really fast,” Jackson, 65, said Monday.

Jackson was just one of a number of tornado victims who turned up scant — but meaningful — possessions in the aftermath of the storm as they processed the devastation.

He has no wallet, no access to money. His cards are all gone and his bank is demolished. One of the only things he was able to salvage from his home was his family Bible, and inside he discovered his birth certificate, so at least now he has an ID. “The presence of the Lord was watching over me,” he said.

As the storm blew in, it sounded like 10 people were outside throwing rocks at his house, Jackson said. “They told the truth about the sound of the train,” he added.

His front door was locked, and the wind blew it off the hinges. The windows busted in. He grabbed ahold of what he could, and it felt like the wind was trying to suck him out. He watched the walls shred and blow away. The roof start peeling away above him. Insulation flew into his eyes and he couldn’t see; it blew up his nose and into his mouth and he felt like he was choking. A vent fell and crashed into his head, then sheetrock, a smoke detector.

His home is gone now, and almost everything in it. He’s alone. He’d been a caretaker for his mother for 10 years, but the 88-year-old died of COVID-19 in November 2020. He stayed with his brother for a couple nights, but he still doesn’t have any power or water, so the cold nights became too much to bear. He’s staying at a shelter in the nearby town of Wingo. He heard the government might be trying to place people, and he’s praying for that.

He has no idea what will become of him, he said, but he’s not worried: “I trust in the Lord.”