YORKCOUNTY, S.C. -- Nobody wants to go to the kind of lost and found that was set up in York County Thursday night.

I hate to come here and go through other people's stuff in trying to find my stuff. It's so private, it really is, said Sharon Courtney, one of the unfortunate few to receive an invitation to come to Bethesda Volunteer Fire Department and look for belongings.

Her home was destroyed in the November 16 tornado and her husband of 35 years - Steve Courtney - was killed, protecting his daughter and granddaughter.

It's ok. It's ok because I know where he is - in heaven with his dad. And my husband, his last words were 'God save my family' and he did, said Mrs. Courtney.

She came to the fire department to look through mountains of recovered items, stuff that the storm had scattered from York County to Ballantyne. She did find a gem or two of a memory - a card given to her by her father-in-law from her second wedding anniversary.

Everything that's precious, from a tool to just a piece of clothing. I even tried to find a piece of clothing with his smell on it, said Mrs. Courtney.

Her chore is difficult, but the burden is shared by all the survivors.

In a way, we've all become a family. Those of us who have lost loved ones in this have become a family and we try and help each other. Lots of hugs about this time. Christmas isn t going to be too easy but were going to get through it, she said.

The family was already grieving when the twister hit - Steve s father passed away a month before the storm. Mrs. Courtney said it s a miracle her daughter and granddaughter survived. The only reason she was not at home that night was because she was at church for bible study.

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