Only a few weeks before, her house in another part of town had caught fire and burned to the ground. She and her family lost everything.
Now their new home was in the path of an EF3 tornado, the worst to hit Georgia in the month of January since 1950.
They had been in their new home one night.
“My husband and a friend called me and said go down stairs,” Rinedoller said. “I ran downstairs, saw stuff blowing around, and I thought, ‘Oh no I’m in a tornado.”’
She ran into a closet and prepared for the impact.
“My mother had died on July 4 and I swear I felt her arms around me,” she said. “Then it was over.”
In seconds, the noise stopped. Rinedoller climbed the stairs to see a window blown out on the second level. When she went outside, her roof was gone.
“I was just in shock,” she said.
Home is not a house Rinedoller grew up in Calhoun but had been gone for 21-years with the military, she said.
She returned home in 2009 to care for her ailing mother, Peggy Autry, who had been a long time teacher at Eastside Primary before retiring in 1997.
Her father, Buddy Autry, was a former Gordon County Civil Defense Director during the 1970s.
Rinedoller enrolled her daughter, now 17, in school and set about taking care of her mother.
She and her family rented a home and began making a life here.
On July 4, 2012 her mother died. In the months that followed, Rinedoller began to consider what to do next.
“I was at the point of thinking I should get a job and then all this happened.”
A total loss
On Tuesday, January 8, Rinedoller was out helping a friend, her daughter was at school and her husband was at work.
At approximately 3 p.m., her house on Wrights Hollow Road caught fire.
‘They said it was faulty wiring,” she said. “And we pretty much lost everything. It was horrible.”
To make matters worse, the family did not have renters insurance, she said.
“We were going to get insurance, but it was just one of those things we didn’t do,” she said.
The community stepped up to help, providing the family with some of the basic necessities.
Rinedoller and her husband sent their daughter to stay with relatives and then they rented a hotel.
“We were so busy during the day, we just came to the hotel to sleep,” she said.
After the fire, some of their animals were displaced, but they were able to recover them all in time.
They didn’t have as much luck salvaging personal possessions.
“You got me thinking about some of the things we lost,” she said. “Like our old pictures of us in our Navy hats. You can’t replace that stuff.”
Some pictures survived, along with a collection of homemade Christmas ornaments, which, after the fire, have never been more valuable to Rinedoller.
She lost her engagement ring as well, a bitter pill to swallow.
Despite the loss, they were ready to move on and make a life in the new home.
“It took us a while, but we realized life goes on,” she said.
They began collecting a few things and had ordered some furniture for the daughter, which was set to be moved in the day of the tornado.
“We were sleeping on air mattress,” Rinedoller said. “The furniture arrived after the tornado and people were helping us on the street and we got the furniture covered up.”
She can’t help but laugh when she thinks about all the craziness that has taken place, especially when it comes to handling turning the utilities on and off so many times.
“First I called and cancelled it all,” she said. “Calhoun Utilities was so funny. Last week we were turning water on at the new home (before the tornado).
“After the tornado I called and canceled and when we found another new home, I came back in and the Calhoun Utilities lady was like ‘At least you know what paperwork to bring.’ You have to laugh. You can only cry so much. It was just a truly crazy experience.”
Legacy of giving
Rinedoller remembers with great clarity spending her youth accompanying her father on trips of mercy.
They handed out Red Cross vouchers and served hot meals to people impacted by disaster.
In early January, she was on the other end of the giving.
“I remember going to the VAC (Voluntary Action Center), boxing up dinners for people who needed it and after the fire, I’m standing there with piece of paper that said I could get clothes.”
Rinedoller can’t help but wonder why her family has been faced with such obstacles over the last month, but she keeps it all in perspective.
“After the tornado, I looked at these homes that are now concrete slabs,” she said. “They couldn’t save anything. Yes I had these disasters, but I was able to save a few items. We’re alive. We still have some photos. There are these poor people in houses that are not there anymore and they have nothing. How can I complain?”