Charles Endicott Jr.'s parents and grandmother died in the killer tornado that swept through Morgan County last week, but he didn't go to their funeral Friday afternoon.
Endicott, 24, was at the bedside of his brother Eric, 18, who was in serious condition at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital in Lexington following surgery to repair his aorta, the main artery that supplies oxygenated blood to the body. It was torn when the tornado threw Eric Endicott 100 feet from their mobile home, Charles Endicott said.
"I haven't left him," Charles Endicott said. "I've been trying to be strong for him. He's got to have someone, too. ... This is what I should be doing."
Endicott is one of several Kentuckians grieving for dead relatives while caring for injured survivors of the March 2 tornadoes. The death toll from the tornadoes stands at 23, with more than 300 injured.
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Eric "said he remembers pieces and parts but really not a lot" of what happened last week at the Endicott family's mobile home in Ezel, Charles Endicott said.
Endicott said he was about 25 minutes away in Campton, visiting with friends, when the tornado struck.
In Ezel, his family — Eric; Charles Endicott Sr., 51; Betty Sue Endicott, 50; and Elizabeth Endicott, 72 — "saw the funnel cloud come over the hill" and moved to a hallway.
Eric Endicott told his brother "he felt the trailer start rolling."
After being thrown from the mobile home, Eric Endicott got to his feet and saw neighbors walking toward him to help, Charles Endicott said.
Eric Endicott was taken to St. Claire Regional Medical Center at Morehead, where he was treated for a broken femur in his right leg. Shortly before he was to be released from the hospital Monday, a test revealed the torn aorta. He was taken to UK Hospital, where he had a four-hour surgery Thursday morning.
"He came through it well," Charles Endicott said.
The children of Charles Endicott Sr. and Betty Sue Endicott, who also include a daughter and a third son, had parents who "would do anything for you," Charles Endicott Jr. said.
On Friday, Charles Endicott Jr.'s aunt Marita Moore was preparing to attend the funeral for her brother, sister-in-law and mother.
She said the parents would be proud of the way Charles Endicott was taking care of his brother.
"He has really stepped up to the plate," she said.
On Friday, Charles Endicott said the brothers would return to the farm where his family had lived a happy life surrounded by their horses and dogs.
The family will "clean up and rebuild," Charles Endicott said. "I'm going to definitely rebuild something there."