6/23/14

This Mother's Split Second Decision Saved Her Son's Life.

I woke up on April 28th, 2014 with multiple news text alerts on my phone, all saying the same thing. 

"Deadly Tornadoes rip through Arkansas. Death Toll 19."


As the day progressed, the text alerts kept coming with increasing deaths from the tornadoes. Concerned for a friend and her family, I sent this message:


I keep getting text alerts with increasing numbers of deaths due to the tornadoes in your area last night. I cannot stop thinking of you and Little O. Are you and your family OK? ❤️


The next day, I got this back:


Yes, thank you! My brother's family (6yr old, 2 yr old) were thrown from an interior laundry room that was separated from many walls, to about 20ft from their house. Thankfully, my sister in-law put my 6 yr old nephew's bicycle helmet on him, because when they found him covered in debris, even though the helmet had smashed almost completely apart, it still protected his head--the helmet saved his life. He is horribly bruised and cut up, but the hospital has released him. 



My sister in-law landed on top of the 2 yr old. It's nuts. We have been up all night waiting for their release from the hospital. There is nothing left of their home, cars and neighborhood. They had to wait over 2 hrs for paramedics, even then, a paramedic carried my sister in-law about a half-mile to the ambulance. Then they were sent to a hospital an hour away. But they are OK! Don't have any worldly possessions, but OK!



This is all that was left of their Home... A floor, with missing tiles.  
300 other families lost their home that night. 
The huge crack in this helmet tells a story no 6-year-old ever should have to...


Thank God his Mother took the warnings seriously.
She saved her son's life that night.
Their dog was found the next day. Alive, but deaf. He lost his hearing during his pass through the deadly tornado. 

My heart sank. I could barely swallow.  

The mother landed on her 2-year-old.  The dad was ripped from his son. Their home shredded and dispersed over a 100 mile radius. (A woman 120 miles away found a photo of the little boy and used social media to find them.)  Still, they all survived. 

Over the next month I continued to check up on the family.  I wanted to do something. Anything.  I was assured that there was nothing I could do. Yet, at least. Their insurance covered the basics. They moved into a tiny apartment. They were doing their best to rebuild their lives, and of course, holding tight to each other. 

Today, they are trying to find a new normal. Trying to cope with the aftermath of losing everything, and living with the fear of it happening again. The parents are working tirelessly to rebuild their lives and find a new home. The kids are trying to be kids... living with constant fear and anxiety.  

Sadly, this is not an isolated case. Each year thousands of families deal with Mother Nature's wrath. Thousands lose everything, and are left with nothing but a small check from insurance companies to rebuild. Some not even that.  

My friends, I am telling you about this amazing family today because I want you to remember them the next time the news cuts in on your favorite show to tell you to take cover.  Instead of getting mad that your show has been interrupted, take the warning seriously. Get out the bike helmets and take shelter. Remember that had this family not, they may have lost much more than their home and possessions that night. 

There is an amazing website created by the U.S Government (DHS/FEMA) called, Ready.gov. The website covers preparedness-- before, during and after-- every type of natural disaster.  Please, please, please, check it out to review what you can do to protect your family and home from the natural disasters prone to your area.  

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com

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