I want to talk about the people I either found or was able to rescue in the aftermath of the tornado. I know many will not want to read it, but I do not want to forget these people. their images are burned in my head, yet I never knew their names.
As Kenzie and I were drivng down 26th street at around Bird (maybe?) we encountered our first victim. A woman screaming for help that her daughter, who was 7 months pregnant, was trapped in the house. I told Kenzie to stay in the car, I jumped out and ran to the rubble. There was an entire gable laying where the mother said her daughter was. I tried and tried to no avail to move the gable. I yelled for help when all of a sudden, a group of men came running. As we were able to lift the gable up it was very obvious that the daughter and her baby were lifeless. The force of the tornado had ripped the pants off the young woman, I only tell this part because the men that were there all turned away, as I covered her up. I was not letting this young woman lay there like that, she deserved that respect and the men that were there, showed it. I held her mother in my arms until someone else came to comfort her. This is one of the things I think about each night as I go to sleep. Who was she? I never knew her name.
I got back into the car and drove a few feet when I heard a man crying and moaning. I jumped out, once again told Kenzie to stay in the car. There was a man laying in the gutter, face down, drowning in the water and his own blood. I know not to move people who are severly hurt, but I rolled him over anyhow. He looked like he had been beaten with shards of glass and nails, the skin was ripped off him, literally. He had broken bones in his leg that were exposed. He was a skinny man (or boy, I don't even know) so I was able to pick him up, stand in the road and scream for someone to stop and take him to the hospital. Three cars drove by, they all stopped but only to let me know they were already full. The fourth car that came by had a sticker on it, it was that new. The man jumped out, unlocked the seats from the back, threw them to the curb, I covered the man in sweatshirts I had in my car and we laid him in the back. I don't know what happened to him after that. Who was he? I never knew his name.
Driving a few more feet we were once again stopped by the screaming of a man. I told Kenzie to stay in the car, once again. This man was trying to get his wife, three children and nephew out of the basement. There was so much debris, things like refrigerators, couches...heavy stuff. We couldn't see any of them, but...we could hear crying. He was able to go down and get them all out, his son, was trapped under the refrigerator, but we could see his little four year old arm moving. We got them all out, loaded into our car and we spent the next two hours in the car with them trying to make it from 26th and Bird to Freeman, just a few short blocks away. They were in shock, had cuts, bruises, and were freezing. Kenzie was so good to these little kids. She held them on her lap, three at a time, the one year old little girl and mom were in the back and we had to keep them awake as they had head injuries. I was sure it was just concussions and nothing serious, so we made our way slowly to Freeman. As I let them out of the car, they thanked us. Who were they? I never knew their names.
Five and a half hours later, I made it out to my mother in laws. As I got out of the car I pulled wood out of my foot from the first stop, my clothes were covered in blood from the second stop and there was a baby quilt left in my car from the third stop. I made Kenzie stay in the car the whole time yet she was my strength. She never lost it, I did. I will never forget hearing her walk up the stairs, get in the shower, and begin to cry. That was a heart breking moment. My mother in law literally took my shirt off me and covered me in a robe. But I wasn't hysterical anymore. I was in shock.
May 22nd, 2011 has many stories. I just want to remember mine. I just wish I knew the names.