Bloody Eye: Tornado Tale

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The grinding roar of chainsaw motors and the familiar scent of burning gasoline filled the air in Pleasant Grove, AL that Friday morning. Just a week after a mile-wide tornado decimated this quiet Birmingham suburb, sounds and smells like these heralded a new day—resounding signals that the arduous tasks of picking themselves up and returning to normalcy were finally underway.

Jason McNaughton was one of the saw men. A forty-four-year-old father of two, he and a group of good Samaritans from his church traveled about thirty minutes to Pleasant Grove that morning to assist in sawing and clearing away the many large oak trees knocked down by the storm. An Oakley man through and through, McNaughton was wearing his Oakley Whisker sunglasses as eye protection.

Trapped Limbs
“Soon after lunch we went to a new location and started working on a large oak tree that was down in the front yard of one of the houses,” McNaughton says. “I should say ‘what was left of the house’ because most of the roof had been taken off by the storm.

“About twenty minutes into the work I noticed a limb that was bent and trapped by another limb. I stopped my saw and warned another one of the volunteers to step back, and then proceeded to cut the ‘trapped’ limb.”

In The Face
Unfortunately, McNaughton didn’t see a second trapped limb being held in place by the first one. The moment he began sawing the first, the second branch shot out at him like it had been fired from a cannon.

It hit him square in the nose and “was deflected from my eye by my Oakley Whiskers.”

Counting Teeth
“I went through a checklist in my head,” he says. “Were my teeth still there? Was my nose still attached? Was my left eye working? Well, my teeth were still in, my nose was still attached but quite crooked, and my left eye was working but there was a nice cut over my eyebrow.”

The paramedics came to check McNaughton’s condition and suggested he see a doctor.

Saved By Sunglasses
“It was at his office that I realized that my Oakleys probably saved my eye,” he says. “I was told by one person watching that she couldn’t even see the limb (because) it sprung out so quickly. She thought I had just fallen down and dropped my saw.”

McNaughton had surgery to repair his nose about a week later (which he says wasn’t such a big deal given that in the past two years he has also torn a bicep tendon off of its bone and torn his ACL).

“I want to thank you guys at Oakley for making such a great pair of glasses,” he says. “If not for those I might be getting fitted for a glass eye.”