JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Some around the Jacksonville area might barely have noticed the passing of Tropical Storm Elsa. But others, like Hillcrest resident Evan McCall, were left with vivid reminders.
During the storm, a gigantic 40-foot oak tree landed on the Toyota Camry McCall had just purchased.
“I lost my first car. I just paid for it about a month ago. I paid cash. It was going to be my dad car,” McCall said.
McCall works two jobs, one being the wrestling coach at Bartram Trail High School. He and his fiancée are expecting their first child in December.
When the tree fell, the couple was sitting inside the front room of their home -- just feet away.
“It sounded like a big explosion, a huge bang, a lot of crunching, and then the power shut off and then we were left speechless, and I didn’t know what to expect when we opened up the door and it kind of all hit me in a wave,” McCall said.
The close call gave McCall a healthy dose of perspective.
“It didn’t hit our house. It could have been a lot worse. This is why we have insurance,” he said.
That doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt to see it.
“It breaks my heart. When we first saw it, it took everything in me not to fall apart then,” he said.
Despite being crushed and cracked, the Camry cranked right up once the tree was removed.
McCall’s family opened a Cash App -- $elgm1 -- for anyone who would like to contribute to his account for a replacement car.
“The impact of the community it has had is way more overwhelming then the damaged it caused,” McCall said. “At the end of the day, it is just a car, but we get to see everybody come together. It’s amazing.”