Man survives tornado, starts selling shelters

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STONEVILLE, N.C. -- Buddy Fulp will never forget the terror he felt when he was caught in the path of the tornado that destroyed downtown Stoneville in 1998.

"I was just screaming for my life," Fulp said. "I'm just now getting to the point where I can talk about it, because it sort of burned in your mind, and the fear overwhelms you. Now when I see a cloud come up, I start panicking."

When the tornado hit, Fulp didn't have a basement to take cover.

"I'm holding onto this little well house and the grounding rod where you read your meter at.  I wrapped my arm around that. About that time I was upside down, and I was just pleading for the Lord not to take me," recalls Fulp.

Since then, though, Fulp bought an underground tornado shelter. He then turned the idea into a career, getting up with his friend John Beasley to sell the shelters throughout North Carolina.

"We've had as high as 17, 18 calls in a 24-hour period if you have a storm in the area," Beasley said.

"This gives me a safe haven and gives me a piece of mind, where if something does come, I can get in it to safety,"  Fulp said.

Fulp said he sells the shelters in hopes of preventing anyone else from going through the kind of trauma he did or worse.