Father dies day before daughter’s wedding during Newnan tornado

NEWNAN, Ga. — Family friends have confirmed the name of the man who died after an EF-4 tornado ripped through Newnan.

Barry Martin, 56, died of a heart attack on Friday, just one day before he was supposed to walk one of his daughters Jordan down the aisle. A GoFundMe page has been set up for his family and has raised $27,000 so far.

“We’re all just trying to rally around Jordan, Salena and the whole family because it’s just devastating,” family friend Rebecca Creswell told Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach.

Creswell said the father, grandfather, coach and business owner was active and loved in his community. The family planned on celebrating Jordan’s wedding this weekend with Martin set to walk his daughter down the aisle.

“It went from tragedy to horrific in one night,” Creswell said. “Can’t imaging losing my house, can’t imagine losing everything in my house, but can’t imagine losing my father.”

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Family friends said Martin was trying to get to Jordan’s house, which had been hit by the tornado, when he suffered his heart attack.

Martin left his car and was walking about a quarter mile to get to her home and check on his family. However, emergency crews couldn’t make it to him in time because of the debris and power lines blocking the roads.

Instead of a wedding, the family is now having to plan a funeral and pick through what’s left of the home that took a direct hit.

A memorial service will be held for Martin on Thursday at Crossroads Church in Sharpsburg with visitation from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and the service at 3 p.m.

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Gehlbach toured the Martin’s neighborhood and others that were hit by the devastating tornado.

A street over, Melissa and Josh Loudermilk’s home is the only one still standing.

“There’s no reason our house is there. So we decided to come back, stay in the neighborhood to help these folks,” Josh Loudermilk said.

The family is taking donations from churches, co-workers and other neighbors and dropping off supplies, wheeling food and water door-to-door and street-to-street.

“Gotta take care of who we can take care of now,” Josh Loudermilk said.

Newnan Fire Chief Stephen Brown said it may take weeks, months and even a year to clean up and rebuild.

“Newnan’s strong. The families here, people here, have all pooled together as you’ve seen. When you’re down and you see that, it just lifts you up.”