Amherst County family talks moment by moment how they survived tornado

AMHERST COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7)-- Looking inside the Fink house Sunday night, you'd see a dance party between two sisters with a lot of laughter.

Leecy Fink posted a video of her daughters dancing on Facebook to a Taylor Swift Christmas song, giggling. Less than an hour later, everything changed.

"I didn't know if we were going to be in heaven that night or if we were going to be down here," said Gary Fink.

The Fink family home is destroyed. Five of the seven family members were home when the tornado came hurdling towards them.

They take us through moment by moment what happened.

"I saw it through the window on that side and I said Gary get back here," said Leecy.

"And then it got almost pitch black and I got the whole family back in here," said Gary, showing us a spot underneath his basement stairs that his family took shelter in.

"I held that door closed. Gary said he couldn't get the babies close enough to him," said Leecy.

Then, the tornado hit.

"The house started rumbling and shaking," said Gary. "The foundation cracked."

"I'm holding that door so tight," said Leecy. "And that door...it saved my family."

After clinging for life in a basement, they saw light shining over head. It was clear that their house was gone.

"It brings me to tears," said Gary Fink.

The days since have been filled with hope for the Finks. Sheriff's deputies found old school pictures of their son six miles from their home.

"It's those sentimental things that when you find them you're like...thank goodness," said Gary Fink.

For Leecy Fink, it was her missing wedding ring.

"When I look at the debris the thought of ever finding my wedding rings was ridiculous," she said. "And they called me a few hours later and they had found my wedding rings."

They say they'll rebuild as a family, and as a neighborhood.

"This is not about the Finks. This is about Elon," said Leecy. "This is about the neighborhood. These are the people my kids go to school with, these are my babysitters."

A community that from the looks of it is destroyed, but whose spirit is stronger than ever.

"When you look at this, all of these people should not have come out of this okay," said Leecy Fink. "And we're all going to come out on the other side."

Tomorrow is a day of coming together. Amherst County Public Schools will be closed again. They are accepting volunteers, but there is a sign-up process. More information can be found at ElonStrong.com.