Showing posts with label tornadoes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tornadoes. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Samaritan’s Purse response in Alabama after tornado

Billy Graham’s Grandson Shares Greatest Need Facing Alabama Tornado

By Will Maule
March 5, 2019

Amid the utter havoc and devastation wreaked by this weekend’s massive tornados, devoted teams of volunteers have been pouring into Alabama, spending countless hours offering material relief and spiritual comfort to those in dire need. Samaritan’s Purse, an international humanitarian relief organization, is one of the groups that is on the frontline, responding to the destruction through prayer and action.
“Unfortunately, for several families, they have lost loved ones,” the former U.S. Army Major and grandson of the late Rev. Billy Graham told Faithwire in a phone interview. “It was a bad storm.”
Tragically, three children have been confirmed among the 23 who lost their lives, while countless others still remain unaccounted for. Edward Graham, Billy Graham’s grandson, is working on the ground in Lee County with Samaritan’s Purse, where the grief and heartache is palpable.

read more here

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Iraq veteran inspirational message after tornado

'I'm glad we...didn't die,' says Iraq vet who lost arm in Jacksonville tornado
ABC 33 40 News
by Andrew Donley and Emma Simmons

Lindsay has lost more than most, but he's already looking up, because he knows he still has something dear to his heart: his community.

Pictured: Paul Lindsay, Jacksonville storm survivor (right) and his car after the storm
(Courtesy of Rachel Boehnlein)
"I love them all, I'm glad we all survived and didn't die," said Paul Lindsay, Jacksonville storm survivor.

Even so, Jacksonville residents' lives were spun into shambles, and it's one of the reasons Lindsay is speaking out.

"Jacksonville's messed up. I live there, I'm going to help my friends and community," said Lindsay.

While he can't physically help right now, he wanted to share his story to remind his community of the most important thing they all still have: their lives.

During Lindsay's two stints in Iraq, he suffered two brain injuries, PTSD, and has since developed a "real need" to help people.

"If someone's out there who needs my help, I can't just make that go away. I'll go and help that person, then I can go and fall asleep," said Lindsay.
read more here

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Joplin High School Won't Hold Empty Chair for Tornado Victim?

Anguished mom wants seat saved for son at graduation
WZZM 13 ABC News
January 30, 2016
"They should at least do something," he said. Williams is now 21 and a member of the U.S. Marine Corps stationed in North Carolina's Camp Lejeune. His unit is expected to deploy soon.
JOPLIN, Mo. — A woman whose son was killed almost five years ago in a monster tornado that struck southwest Missouri wants an empty chair saved for him at what would have been his high school graduation.

Officials at Joplin High School and the school district rejected the request, saying it doesn't comply with their policy. Now Tammy Niederhelman hopes to put pressure on Joplin School District officials through an online petition.

"I'll never see my son graduate. I know that. I'll never see him get married. I'll never hold my grandchildren," Niederhelman said. "This is very important to me — to have a seat for him."

Zachary Zachary Allen Williams was 12 and hadn't finished middle school when he died May 22, 2011, as he huddled in a bathroom of the Niederhelmans' house; 160 other people died that same day.

"No parent should ever have to beg, plead, and fight for their deceased student to be honored with their own seat at graduation and for their name to be called," Niederhelman wrote in her petition, which more than 4,500 people had signed as of Friday. "Zach will not sit in the seat as he should have but he was, is, and always will be a Joplin Eagle Class of 2016."
read more here

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Veteran Marine Killed in Arkansas Tornado

Eddy Withem, Marine and Father of Three, Killed in Ashdown, Arkansas, Tornado
The Weather Channel
By Allie Goolrick
Published: Oct 14, 2014

Eddy Withem with his wife, Roxanne Oliver-Withem.
(Photo: Facebook/Eddy Withem)

An Arkansas Marine and father of three was killed early Monday morning after an EF2 tornado tore through Ashdown in the southwest corner of the state. Eddy Withem, 33, was killed when a twister hit his home around 5:30 a.m., KSLA reports. His wife, Roxanne Oliver-Withem, was critically injured.

Withem was in the home with his wife and their three children when the storm blew the couple outside, said Mike Seidel, meteorologist with The Weather Channel, as he reported from Ashdown.

Roxanne is in critical condition after having surgery at Wadley Regional Medical Center in Texarkana, Texas. The three children, ranging in age from seven to 13, sustained minor injuries and have been released to their grandparents.
read more here

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Iraq Veteran-National Guardsman Died Saving Family During Tornado

Tornado Victims Were Dads and Daughters, Brothers and Sons
NBC News

The victims include an Iraq veteran and two young brothers. A widow and a father and two of his daughters.

The deadly tornadoes buffeting the South since Sunday have killed 34 people across six states. The storms may still bring more devastation, leaving behind not just a trail of destruction, but entire communities grieving.

Here is what we know about some of the victims:
Daniel Wassom, 31, Vilonia, Ark.

Wassom, a father of two daughters — Lorelei, 5, and Sydney, 7 — died Sunday sheltering his family from the tornado. The man who everybody called "Bud" was with his wife, Suzanne, and his girls in a hallway in the center of their home when a large beam came toward him, crushing him to death.

Wassom, who served in the Arkansas Air National Guard as a load master moving cargo in and out of planes and had been deployed to Iraq, died shielding Lorelei from the beam.
read more of their stories here

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tornadoes:16 people in Arkansas and one in Oklahoma died

'Chaos' reigns as deadly tornadoes slam several states
By Ed Payne, Joe Sutton and Devon Sayers
updated 5:19 AM EDT, Mon April 28, 2014

'It's chaos here," Vilonia mayor says
In Mayflower, a highway was littered with crushed and overturned vehicles
Emergency dispatcher: 'Please tell the public to stay away'

Mayflower, Arkansas (CNN) -- A brutal band of severe weather battered the central Plains and mid-South late Sunday, killing at least 16 people in Arkansas and one in Oklahoma.

Some of the worst damage was north of Little Rock, Arkansas, where reported tornadoes devastated the towns of Mayflower and Vilonia.

"It's chaos here," said Vilonia Mayor James Firestone. "Our downtown area seems like it's completely leveled."

The nightmare is all too familiar for the community of about 3,800 people. Another storm ransacked the town almost three years ago to the day and followed essentially the same path, the mayor said.

"There's a few buildings partially standing, but the amount of damage is tremendous," Firestone said Sunday.

"There's gas lines spewing. Of course, power lines down. Houses are just a pile of brick."
read more here

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Marine rebuilding after tornado takes on crooks

Marine, tornado victim fights back after targeted by thieves
by Courtney Francisco
December 2, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY – A burglary quickly turned into a chase Monday afternoon, but this time, it wasn’t police trailing the criminals; it was the victim.

The victim in this case had already lost everything once before in the May 20 tornado and was not going to let thieves take it away again.

As T.J. Sanders and his family were rebuilding their life, they were hit by burglars.

The suspects stole a new refrigerator, washer, dryer and a stove.

The Sanders planned on installing the appliances in the new home they purchased after the storm. Sanders said, “It’s been a pretty rough six months now.”

He and his wife, Hayley, and their two children were fighting to survive the tornado that tore through their home.

This time, Sanders fought to get their belongings back from burglars.
read more here

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Retired General David Petraeus joins TEAM RUBICON

Retired General David Petraeus joins TEAM RUBICON
TR Nation

Almost one month ago, an EF-5 tornado hit the city of Moore, OK, leaving catastrophic damage in its wake. As Moore picked itself up from the rubble, a tremendous outpouring of support came in from across the country.

Team Rubicon was on the ground the very next day, and as we built out the framework for the long-term recovery efforts, we saw what kind of impact TR Nation would have on Operation: Starting Gun.

Four weeks later, we've collected 2,374 damage assessments, completed over 250 work orders on damaged structures, and deployed over 300 veteran volunteers from all ten regions. Because of your support, we estimate TR has saved the community roughly $1.1 million in demolition and debris removal costs.

And today, we're pleased to announce that Team Rubicon is adding General David Petraeus USA (Ret.) to our Board of Advisors. Between his time in uniform and as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, General Petraeus served our Nation for over 38 years. By joining our Board of Advisors, General Petraeus is making good on his promise to help our veterans continue their service and ease the transition from military to civilian life. His ability to develop and implement radical strategies will serve Team Rubicon greatly as we attempt to revolutionize disaster response and veteran reintegration.

There is still a lot of work to be done in Moore. Your continued support will put more volunteers on the ground and provide us the equipment needed to help Moore rebuild. Can you help?

We couldn't do this without you.

The Team

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Community comes together to help blind veteran after tornado

Gillespie tornado leaves blind veteran homeless
Jun 10, 2013


Since our story aired Sunday night donations have been pouring in. By Monday morning the total was over $5,300.


A Navy veteran in the small town of Gillespie, Illinois is in desperate need of your help after his home was destroyed by a tornado.

Joe Zimmerman proudly served in the U.S. Navy from 1985-89 but has since run into health problems including neuropathy and most recently blindness.
read more here

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Three "Storm Chasers" killed in Oklahoma

'Storm Chasers' Star Tim Samaras, Son Paul Samaras And Carl Young Die In Oklahoma
Huffington Post
Posted: 06/02/2013

Former "Storm Chaser" star Tim Samaras, his son Paul Samaras, and colleague Carl Young died while chasing the Oklahoma storm on Friday, May 31.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Tim Samaras his son Paul and their colleague Carl Young. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families," Discovery Channel said in a statement.

Samaras' brother, Jim, posted a message on Samaras's official Facebook page. reported on the trio's passing.
read more here

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Military should learn Army of civilians show up after tornadoes

From 2008 to 2010 I took as much training as possible to be able to hit trauma head on as soon as it happens. Why? Because it works. It takes the survivors out of the event and into safe places. It removes them from what they just went through instead of just leaving them there in shock.

My family did that for me using common sense and wisdom. One time it was a bad car accident. When my parents picked me up at the hospital, my Dad drove us to see what was left of the car I walked away from. We stood there until I didn't need to look at it anymore. My Dad handed me the keys to his car. I thought he was out of his mind after what happened but he explained to me that I needed to get back to "normal" and drive or I may never drive again. He was right.

He took me out of that moment when I was sure I was going to die as the car was out of control heading for the guard rail. Not thinking right, I relaxed, covered my face with my arms and crashed. As I stood looking at the car my parents didn't need to say anything or "fix" me right then and there. They waited for me to talk with their arms around me. Then I said it trying to make sense out of surviving all that with bruises and friction burns. "I survived that!"

As I drove down the same highway I almost died on hours earlier, my hands were shaking as I stayed in the slow lane of traffic tensing up as soon as another car came up behind me. It wasn't a fun ride but when I pulled into the driveway, I was relieved.

Civilians have been doing this for decades but the military hasn't. That is really inexcusable considering war is what clued civilians into responding to traumatic events. Vietnam veterans came home suffering the way all other generations did but they refused to just go home and die. They fought the government and service organizations to fund research. Those efforts led to mental health providers and crisis intervention teams much like trauma centers treat traumatic wounds after what the military learned. So how is it the military is the last to learn what they taught everyone else?
Army of mental health volunteers search for tornado victims
May 28, 2013
by Ed Doney

MOORE, Okla. – The streets of Moore and other communities devastated by the May 19 and 20 tornadoes are filled with residents who have yet to process the mental toll those storms took.

“This lady was saying ‘My husband won’t cry, I need him to cry.’ Well, maybe it’s not time for him to cry,” Jackie Shipp said, with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS).

Shipp wants to hear more of those stories while walking the streets of Moore.

She’s offering the simplest of things, water and food, hoping people will open up and let her offer them psychological first aid.

She said, “They need someone to ground them and say, ‘What are the two things you need to do today? Did you eat today? When’s the last time you had something to drink?’”

It’s an effort by more than 400 mental health professionals and volunteers from across Oklahoma and several states to help as many people as they can.
read more here

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Veteran losing home to tornado 3 weeks after it was paid off

The media pushes the political divide in this country but the truth is far from a divided nation. When tragedy strikes, people show up to help strangers. That is what this country is all about.
“Just when you think the country is divided, you look around at all these people — many of whom don’t even live here (in Moore) — helping with the cleanup efforts and it reminds you that people are patriotic,” Department of Oklahoma Adjutant Lance Rooms said.
Veteran family returns home to debris
American Legion
By Cameran Richardson
May 23, 2013

Army veteran Frank Froman and his wife, Gisela, were at a gas station when the deadly tornado ripped through Moore, Okla., late afternoon on May 20; their six-month pregnant granddaughter was at their house alone. They returned home to find their granddaughter safe but were faced with the tornado’s aftermath — a pile of debris. And it was just three weeks ago that the Froman’s paid off their entire home mortgage.

“People are the most important thing. Everything else can be replaced,” Gisela said.

The route home from the gas station was shocking. “We couldn’t even find what road we lived on,” said Chris Froman, son of Franklin and Gisela. “Yet, we came into the neighborhood and a few blocks away it was normal — there wasn’t any damage to homes.”
read more here

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tornado turns Marin Iraq vet’s town into war zone

Tornado turns marine vet’s town into war zone
War veteran vows to rebuild home flattened in devastating Oklahoma storm
May 22, 2013

Moore, Oklahoma: Curtis Carver has every intention of rebuilding from scratch the house he lost in Monday’s powerful and deadly hurricane that devastated this Oklahoma City suburb. But first, the construction worker and 20-year veteran of the US Marine Corps, who spent two years on active duty in Iraq, wants to recover his memories from the rubble - and law enforcement is getting in the way.

“My pictures. That’s all I want - my pictures,” he said Tuesday while cooling his heels and suppressing his anger at a road block where a police officer politely but firmly denied him access to the disaster zone.

Other residents could enter with a valid proof of address, and many did, toting out by foot whatever they could in bags and luggage of all shapes and colours to their cars parked a few kilometers away.

But Carver’s house, in the vicinity of Southwest 14th Street and Santa Fe Avenue, was in an area deemed by authorities Tuesday to be still too hazardous to enter, although he did get a glimpse of it Monday evening.

“It was my home, my kids’ home,” said Carver, a 38-year-old father of two, wearing a camouflage jacket over an Oklahoma T-shirt. “Now it’s gone. There’s nothing left. It’s a pile of sticks, and they’re keeping me away.”
read more here

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oklahoma National Guard Uses New Combat Gear, Tactics From Afghanistan

National Guard Uses New Combat Gear, Tactics in Moore, Okla.
'It's still chaos,' said one soldier who patrolled with Air Force, Army veterans
US News
May 21, 2013

Oklahoma National Guardsmen, many of them combat veterans, were among the first responders to the tornado that tore through Moore, Okla. Monday afternoon.

Roughly 80 soldiers and airmen from nearby bases rushed to the disaster zone early Monday evening, a spokesman says. They brought with them advanced tactical equipment, experience from the war in Afghanistan and an overarching desire to help friends and neighbors.

"It's still chaos," says Maj. Geoff Legler, a spokesman for the Oklahoma National Guard who arrived with the initial quick reaction force Monday night. He first saw victims of the EF4-rated tornado escaping on foot via major avenues, clutching photo albums and pictures, and anything else that would fit into suitcases.

Hundreds of firemen, search and rescue workers and police responded to schools and neighborhoods affected by more than 200 mph winds. Legler flew over the disaster site Tuesday morning and says every intersection was occupied by first responders or members of the National Guard. Roughly 75 percent of the guardsmen based in Norman, just south of Moore, came out last night to work with airmen from the 146th Air Support Operations Squadron stationed out of Will Rogers Air National Guard Base near Oklahoma City.
read more here

Monday, May 20, 2013

Students trapped after tornado hits two schools near Oklahoma City

'Confirmed casualties' at Oklahoma school flattened by tornado, fire chief says
UPDATE KROR.COM 4 NEWS said they are now in search and recovery at the school.

About 2 dozen children are believed to remain in the rubble of Plaza Towers Elementary School.

Reporters have also been talking about average people showing up to do whatever they can to help.
Live coverage on NBC
'Major damage' as huge tornado rips through neighborhoods south of Oklahoma City
By Erin McClam
Staff Writer
NBC News

A monster two-mile-wide tornado ripped through southern Oklahoma City and the suburb of Moore on Monday afternoon, leaving homes and schools in ruins and fires burning out of control.

There was no immediate word on casualties, but aerial footage showed major destruction: flattened homes, cars flipped over and crushed, residents milling around in shock or combing through debris.

At one wrecked school, search crews were trying to account for students in kindergarten through third grade, NBC station KFOR reported.

“I lost everything,” a shirtless man told a reporter as he walked in a daze through the ruins of a horse farm that was obliterated. “We might have one horse left out of all of them.”
Two elementary schools — Briarwood Elementary in Oklahoma City and Plaza Towers Elementary in Moore — were heavily damaged, KFOR reported.

A teacher told a KFOR reporter that she lay on top of six kids in a bathroom as the tornado touched down to protect them.
read more here

Saturday, June 30, 2012

It was a mother's ultimate sacrifice in Florida

Heather Town, Florida Mom, Dies Shielding 3-Year-Old Daughter In Tornado
(How You Can Help)
The Huffington Post
By Allie Compton
Posted: 06/28/2012

It was a mother's ultimate sacrifice.

A tornado spawned by Tropical Storm Debby ripped through the oak trees and barbed-wire fence near Heather Town's mobile home in Venus, Fla. In what must have been a moment of instinct, she grabbed her 3-year-old daughter and clutched the child in her arms, Bay News 9 reports.

Moments later, Town's home was thrown 200 feet into the woods by the powerful storm, according to Fox 13.

Two neighbors heard a child crying and tracked down the source of the sound, eventually finding Town cradling her daughter.

Once help arrived, Town was pronounced dead on the scene, according to Fox 13. The child is recovering from broken bones, including broken ribs, perhaps a result of her mother's tight, protective grip, WPTV reports.

"Anyone that can hold on to their baby like that, I mean, she was brave. To cling to her child, to keep her baby safe," Crystal Walker, Town's sister, told Bay News 9.
read more here

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tornado takes home of local vet, thieves take what was replaced

Tornado takes home of local vet, thieves take belongings again

EAST LAKE, Ala. (WIAT) Fred Swartz helps fix up houses with Three Hots and A Cot, a Birmingham organization that assists homeless veterans, which also helped him.

“I’ve gone from being homeless staying in a bus station, a homeless shelter into housing, into my own house shortly," he says.

He and others have worked on a house in East Lake for about 2 months and were a week from moving in when thieves broke in.

“They didn't get much, but they got everything that Fred had which is a lot," says JD Simpson, President of Three Hots and a Cot.

Before the thieves kicked in the back door trying to get in, they damaged brand new storm windows on their first attempt. On top of taking a few electronics and a TV that had been donated, the thieves also set him back in other ways.
read more here

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Missouri National Guard accused of looting after Joplin tornado?

When I read the headline, I could feel my blood pressure go up. I thought about how this would look when National Guards showed up to help but a few decided to help themselves. But,"One man's trash, another man's treasure" seems to apply here. They were told the items would be destroyed anyway. I changed my mind as soon as I read the rest of the article.

Do you think they should have been punished for this?

4 Guard Troops Looted Store After Joplin Tornado
May 31, 2012
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
by Matthew Hathaway

ST. LOUIS - The Missouri National Guard, after initially refusing to divulge reports about suspected looting by soldiers after the Joplin tornado, publicly released them this week under orders from Gov. Jay Nixon.

The investigative memos show that one day after a devastating tornado struck Joplin last year, four soldiers assigned to look for survivors pocketed video game equipment and a digital camera they found at a ruined Wal-Mart.

The heavily redacted documents do not identify the soldiers involved in what the documents refer to as incidents of "theft," but the memos give the soldiers' ranks: one sergeant and three specialists.

All the soldiers were demoted and had letters of reprimand placed in their personnel files, said Major Tammy Spicer, a spokeswoman for the Guard.

The soldiers believed that the merchandise was going to be destroyed, according to a memo written by Captain Matthew J. Brown, who investigated the matter.
read more here

Sunday, March 4, 2012

National Guardsmen fan across wrecked Midwestern towns

Guardsmen fan across wrecked Midwestern towns
By Judy Keen, Jessie Halladay and Doyle Rice - USA Today
Posted : Saturday Mar 3, 2012

HENRYVILLE, Ind. — A tree crashed on top of his home, his garage blew away and his treasured 1969 Camaro was destroyed, but local glass installer David Geiger said Saturday that he’s lucky.

“My house is still standing,” explained Geiger, 50, who raced 20 miles home after Friday’s tornado hammered this enclave of less than 2,000 residents to make sure his pregnant daughter was OK. She was.

The death toll rose to 38 Saturday from a series of tornadoes that churned through 10 states Friday, leaving behind a path of death and destruction. The latest tragic tally included 19 dead in Kentucky, 14 in Indiana, three in Ohio and one each in Alabama and Georgia. Tornadoes also were reported in Mississippi, Tennessee, Illinois, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Meanwhile, Guard troops spread out across the states that experienced the most destruction, including Indiana and Kentucky.
read more here

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Teams deliver ‘psychological first aid’ on the street

July 29, 2011
Teams deliver ‘psychological first aid’ on the street
By Emily Younker

JOPLIN, Mo. — When Daryl Whitecotton came to his front door on Wednesday, he was greeted by his new friend, Susan Myers.

For a few minutes, Myers drilled him on his post-tornado living conditions. Did he need more ice? More water? Any help in getting some of his utilities hooked up?

And then came a question Whitecotton likely wasn’t expecting: Had she given him a stress ball yet?

“I ain’t got stress,” he joked, accepting the red ball and squeezing it in his right hand as he talked.

Whitecotton is one of about 21,000 people across Joplin who have received “psychological and emotional first aid” from Healing Joplin, a collaborative effort led by Ozark Center to help tornado survivors put their lives back together, said Debbie Fitzgerald, project manager.

Additional support

U.S. Navy Chief Stanley “Mike” Wade will discuss his experience with post-traumatic stress disorder in talks this weekend. Wade was diagnosed with — and has since overcome — the disorder following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and several military deployments.

Wade’s presentation is set for 10 a.m. today in the Justice Center at the Missouri Southern State University, 3950 E. Newman Road. Residents who think they might be experiencing psychological effects from the tornado are encouraged to attend.
read more here
Teams deliver psychological first aid on the street