St. James tornado victim reunited with deceased husband's flag - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

St. James tornado victim reunited with deceased husband's flag

Mandy Pruitt tearfully accepts husband's flag. (FOX 8 Photo) Mandy Pruitt tearfully accepts husband's flag. (FOX 8 Photo)
CONVENT, LA (WVUE) - -

Tornado victims who lived in the Sugar Mill RV Park in Convent continued streaming back to see what’s left of their tornado-damaged homes Monday, and while it has been tough for a lot of people, one woman still recovering from her injuries was reunited with something very special.

"I would imagine that this is what a war zone would look like,” said resident Mandy Pruitt.

For Pruitt, the tornado that swept through the RV park on Feb. 23 nearly took her life.

"The camper started rocking, and when it rolled the first time, I was completely ripped out of the back of the camper and they found me about 40 feet away," Pruitt said.

With multiple broken ribs and a broken shoulder blade, Pruitt was rushed to the hospital. After being released, she and her mom came back to the site looking for just one particular item - an American flag.

"That's all I have left of my husband,” Pruitt said. “He died at the age of 33."

Her husband, Tom, served in the Navy and spent eight years overseas during the Gulf War. He died of a heart attack after coming home. The flag was presented to Mandy Pruitt at Tom's funeral.

"We try to salvage what we could,” Pruitt’s mother said. “We looked around. Our goal was to find the flag for her. We couldn't find it."

As it turned out, St. James Parish Sheriff’s Detective Julie Scioneaux stumbled on the flag days earlier as she patrolled the site.

"It was actually three trailers on top of each other, so it was somewhere in this area,” Scioneaux said.
Knowing it must be something special, the detective treated it with respect, and immediately picked it up and folded it.

On Monday, now nearly a week after losing everything she owned, members of the VFW presented Mandy Pruitt with her husband's flag once again. She accepted with tears of joy.

Copyright 2016 WVUE. All rights reserved.

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