You’ve been warned. Caught in the vortex, spinning, turning, stripped naked. When it’s over, lives are shattered, but you are one of the lucky ones, you survived. I am metaphorically connected.
On a recent trip to Tennessee, I saw firsthand the destruction of the April 27th Tornado outbreak. I visited the town of Apison, TN and Ringgold GA. What I saw moved me to tears, and the stories of survival were so amazing I wanted to share them here. The stories are first and second hand accounts of individual survival.
My Son-in-law was staying with his mother about a mile from the site of destruction in Apison, TN. They were a mile from the Tornado touchdown. They local government put a plea out on the TV for anyone with any medical knowledge to please come to the local elementary school to assist in triage. The Fire Department and emergency personnel were unable to reach them because the roads were blocked by fallen trees and debris. Son-in-law is in school to become a Physician’s Assistant and lived one block from the school. He went. Survivors walked in covered in so much blood and mud it was impossible to determine the extent of injuries until they were rinsed off. Some came in naked as the tornado had stripped off their clothes. SIL couldn’t really share too much, still too fresh a memory.
Apison, TN- a mother, grandmother and 3 children, huddled against a wall, mom and grandmother shielding the children pressed against the wall. When it was over, that was the only wall in the home standing.
- Large southern colonial home (8,000sq ft.), the family huddled in the closet under the winding staircase. It’s all that is left of the home. (Picture below)
9 people lost their lives in Apison. It was an EF-4.
Ringgold, GA- This is the town my daughter will teach in next year. They lost so much, including a school.
-a woman saw the twister coming over the Food Lion and only had time to hit the floor of her SUV. Her car was moved across the parking lot and the roof opened like a tin can, windows blown out. She survived.
-a woman and her children were stopping at Taco Bell. She left the 2 older children in the car when she went in to get her food. She wondered why there was no one at the counter. The employees were already in the cooler. The manager came out a screamed at her to get in the cooler, but she panicked and grabbed the child and ran to the car to get the other children, too late. She had all kids on the floor of the car, shielded be her body. The car was totaled, but they all survived.
-A woman saw it coming down the road, tried to out run it and her car was picked up, and set down 100 yards later. She survived.
-workers at a gas station huddled in the walkin cooler. That’s all that’s left of the gas station.
Ringgold also had the EF-4 before it reached Apison.
I saw; many teams of volunteers among the wreckage, convoys of relief teams, local volunteers, not government teams, on the highway, a real since of community helping community. The stories of survival are as uplifting as the destruction is devastating.
With Hurricane Season fast approaching, it reinforced the resolve to Be Prepared and pay attention!
No home left, just a car and the pool slide.
All thats left of a Colonial Mansion
There are 2 cars in there
This is how it looked after the storm, nothing left!
Even the Bear can't look.
You want fries with that?
Daughter thought it looked like ACE Hardware had dreadlocks.
The bank on the other side of the parking lot from the Food Lion.
The Food Lion. West of I-75
West side of I-75. All that's left is the walkin coolers