‘It’s like a war zone out here’: Sheriff’s deputy hit hard by tornado

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Virginia Beach deputy sheriff Kevin Goodey stands next to his damaged chimney. (Justin Belichis/Southside Daily)
Virginia Beach deputy sheriff Kevin Goodey stands next to his damaged chimney. (Justin Belichis/Southside Daily)

VIRGINIA BEACH — A Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office deputy got home from work minutes before a tornado struck in his neighborhood Friday, damaging several homes.

“It was unbelievable, and it had the freight train sound that everyone says,” VBSO Deputy Kevin Goodey said. “We saw the funnel cloud hit the dirt.”

Goodey, his wife, Christina, and their son, Ethan, were in their Salem Road area home when the tornado touched ground.

“I saw all the things on the deck, our patio furniture, just whisk up in the air and get thrown around… probably lasted 15 to 20 seconds, and it was over,” Goodey said. “I looked outside again and saw the destruction.”

One of Goodey's friends works on his chimney that detached from his home. (Justin Belichis/Southside Daily)
One of Goodey’s friends works on his chimney that detached from his home. (Justin Belichis/Southside Daily)

Like many Beach homeowners, Goodey found pieces and ornaments of his home ripped off and missing due to violent wind speed caused by the tornado.

Now, his front yard is without a 40-year-old Bradford pear tree that stood there for years, his chimney is detached and the backyard fencing is yanked from the dirt. A tree damaged his white truck, and one of its branches even impaled a tire.

In the aftermath of the storm, about 55 people gathered outside of his home Friday night to help clear the damage. Some were neighbors, and others Goodey had never seen before.

“I had so many emotions going on, so it was tough for me to even try to help, but I tried,” he said.

Family and friends helped Goodey Saturday, too, and tearing off broken panels, repairing his leaky roof and organizing fallen trees by the curb.

Goodey said the tornado hit his home minutes after he got home from work. He rushed into the house around 6:20 p.m. and woke his 5-year-old son up from a nap.

Debris lines a Virginia Beach neighborhood after a tornado Friday.
Debris line Goodey’s street the morning after the tornado. (Justin Belichis/Southside Daily)

Ethan is autistic, and the sound of hail hitting the home was frightening for him.

Goodey said the hail hitting his home ranged in sizes from an inch to an inch-and-a-half.

“My son got scared, it was hitting the windows… it’s sensory for him,” Goodey said. “Then my phone went off saying there was a tornado warning in our immediate area, so everyone rushed downstairs.”

One of Virginia Beach deputy sheriff Kevin Goodey's truck's tires was impaled by a tree branch.
A tree branch impaled one of Goodey’s truck’s tires. (Justin Belichis/Southside Daily)

After Goodey secured his family in a closet downstairs, he looked out a back window and saw the tornado touch down.

“You see it in the movies, like ‘Twister,’ but you just don’t know the power of nature… it’s like a war zone out here,” he said.

As if the tornado damage wasn’t enough to suffer, Goodey said Christina lost her job the same day.

To bounce back from this disaster, the Goodey family is raising money to cover his home insurance deductible.

“It will take time. We can replace property and everything else, but we can’t replace life,” Goodey said. “I’m glad we’re all safe and all our neighbors are safe.”

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