Arkansas church volunteers frame new home for Lee County tornado survivor and widow

Volunteers help build home for Beauregard tornado victim

Beauregard, Ala. (WSFA) - The scars are still very visible in Beauregard more than a year after a tornado killed 23 people and injured so many others. The recovery is still ongoing. For one Lee County resident, the healing took a major step forward this week, thanks to strangers more than 700 miles away.

At 102 Lee County Road 721, a gift beyond measure is moving in, a present being hammered in by Keith Bostian and his church volunteers from northwest Arkansas.

“It’s been long enough for her to heal up to tell us her story and it’s fantastic for these kids to hear,” said Bostian of Prairie Grove Christian Church in Prairie Grove, Arkansas.

It's the story of Carol Dean.

“And it happened to be his time,” she said.

Carol Dean's home was destroyed by a tornado in March 2019.
Carol Dean's home was destroyed by a tornado in March 2019. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Dean didn’t just lose her home but lost her husband in the storm, too. David “Road Dog” Dean was 53.

“He loved the birds. He loved the wind chimes,” Dean remembered.

The work was hard. Ten hour days, but worth the 10 hour trip, according to Garrett Wade who is all of 17.

“The best motivation is how much help we’re giving her,” said Wade of Prairie Grove, Arkansas.

The framed up home is one of two the volunteers built, a group of rookies and veterans.

‘”They’re a lot more skilled than they think they are,” said Bostian.

When the storm passed David “Road Dog” Dean was found about 40 yards behind the couple’s mobile home. David and Carol had been married for only three years.

“All sorts of emotions,” Dean said holding back tears.

David "Road Dog" Dean died in the 2019 tornado that hit Beauregard.
David "Road Dog" Dean died in the 2019 tornado that hit Beauregard. (Source: Carol Dean)

With her new home going up, the stump of a pine tree will remain, a makeshift shrine in the front yard put together by Dean. It was her way of redeeming what was lost and making it a perpetual memory.

“Just to have something I can come to. It’s a tribute to him,” she said.

“Alright, great job guys,” Bostian told the group as they wrapped up for the day.

Another group of volunteers will soon begin their work on the inside.

Meantime, Keith Bostian and his team hit the road back to Arkansas. They set the foundation for a deeper healing and a window of closure for Carol Dean, setting the stage for her to move in sometime in September.

“And I am thankful I have it,” Dean said of new home.

Four agencies including the Lee County United Way and MEND raised the funds to make it happen for Dean.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.