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Saving Lives and Rebuilding Together in Sanford

In April 2011, an EF-3 tornado with 140 mph winds struck Lowe's of Sanford head-on, leaving much of the North Carolina store in rubble. But just before the tornado hit, store manager Mike Hollowell and his team quickly guided customers and employees to the safest part of the store, the back area designated as the safe zone in the store's emergency plan. There, they huddled shoulder-to-shoulder as a massive twister barreled through the store. Minutes later, about 100 customers and employees walked out of the emergency exit, leaving behind piles of rubble and aisles of twisted steel. Thanks to the quick action of Lowe's employees who carried out their emergency training, everyone made it out without serious injury. "The employees kept everyone moving and everyone focused," said Gary Hendricks, who was shopping with his wife, Kathy. "There was no panic because people knew what to do. When we got to the back hallway, they said, 'Get down!' Their quick response saved everyone." The team effort that saved lives continued as Lowe's employees came together to help coworkers recover, return to work at surrounding stores and rebuild Lowe's of Sanford. In less than five months, the store was back serving the Sanford community. During construction, every Lowe's employee was offered the opportunity to work in a neighboring store. Employees were given their choice of stores, and Lowe's provided transportation for the first 30 days. No one lost their job because of the disaster. "Lowe's is more of a family than a company, and this proves that," said assistant store manager Bobby Gibson. Find out more about Lowe's efforts in the community at
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