Holding onto memories: Alto grandmother pulls former Yellowjacket standout’s trophies from rubble

Holding onto memories: Alto grandmother pulls former Yellowjacket standout’s trophies from rubble

ALTO, TX (KTRE) - Marga johnson lost her home last Saturday after it was hit by a tornado near the Caddo Mounds Historical site.

Three days after the storm, her family was still digging through the rubble looking for personal items.

“I was called and told I had 10 minutes to get out of the home, so I got out and I am glad I did,” Johnson said. “The house is all gone. All i have left are the blocks and the stairs.”

There were a lot of memories in the home. The most important to her were the ones of her grandson Keenen.

"The first thing I looked for was the football from his first touchdown in college,' Johnson said. “I found that first. The coaches signed it so it was special.”

While Johnson and her family were picking up the pieces at her home, Keenen was in Tulsa at school.

“I was taking a nap and my phone was going off,” Keenen said. “I did not hear it. One of my relatives that is in school here in Tulsa got a hold of me. When I saw that text message, I made sure my mom and people were alright. It was tough to see that and what all the people of Alto were going through. They may not have been immediate family but they are family to me.”

Keenen made a name for himself on the football field at Alto running through any defense that stood in his way. He is also a state champion with the Alto track team and was homecoming king.

Through his athletic career, Keenen has collected a large amount of medals and trophies.

“He said, 'Keep it until I get home granny because mom will loose it,” Johnson said.

Most of the items were easy to find. The one that took some time was his 'Built Ford Tough 2A Player of the Week" trophy. That took three days to find, buried under Sheetrock and a refrigerator.

“He told me don’t worry about that,” Johnson said. “He said, ‘Granny stop looking. It will be alright.’ I didn’t stop looking.”

“At the time of the tornado I was not worried about the items,” Keenen said. “I did give them to her because I knew how important they were to her as well. I knew she would like them.”

With an uncertain future on where she will go next, Johnson holds on to her faith and knows she is blessed to be alive.

“He got me,” Johnson said. " I know he got me. I am truly blessed. We all are."

keenen is looking forward to getting done with the school year so he can return home for a bit and then focus on finishing his senior year with a conference championship and graduating.

To help the victims of these storms, click here to donate to either the American Red Cross or the East Texas Food Bank. Both agencies are working daily in these storm-impacted areas of East Texas.

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