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Texas Family Escapes to Red Cross Shelter after Tornado

Texas Shelter

Red Cross worker Jen Edwards talks with Brittany Spain, her three-year-old son Gabriel and husband Jarid. The family came to the shelter in Runaway Bay, Texas, after a tornado damaged their home.

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After the recent storms in Texas, three-year-old Gabriel Spain, along with his parents Jarid and Brittany, showed up at the American Red Cross shelter set in Runaway Bay in search of a place to stay.

The youngster looked around the reception area clutching his toy truck and quietly explained, “Our house had a tornado. We hid in the closet.”

The family’s home lost large sections of its roof, exposing the interior to the rain and leaving the carpets soaking wet.

The Spain family was among several who suffered through the tornado. Several condos a short distance away sustained major roof damage, forcing occupants to look elsewhere for a place to stay until repairs are completed.

The day after the tornado, the Red Cross opened the shelter at the CrossWay Church. Red Cross emergency response vehicles drove through the community to provide food, water and cleanup supplies. “We provide the people with what they need,” said Red Cross volunteer Steve Bales of Brownwood, Texas who drove one of the vehicles into the community. He stopped at the Runaway Bay City Hall to find out what where the tornado had hit so he would know where to go.

At the shelter, Brittany provided additional details to Red Cross volunteer Jen Edwards, a Dallas resident, whose job is to ensure there are enough cots and food.

Edwards explained the shelter was opened to provide a safe place for people to stay after the tornado. The Runaway Bay shelter is among the almost 20 opened across Texas in the last two weeks because of severe weather.

Brittany said it was her first tornado. When she first heard it, she wasn’t sure what was happening. But her husband grew up in southwest Kansas were tornadoes are common.

“When the noise started, I knew exactly what it was,” Jarid said, holding his son close to him.

“He said go to the closet now,” his wife added. “Then the house started shaking and there was the sound of breaking glass as the roof came off. It really was scary.”

The parents said they’re most thankful for escaping unharmed with their son.

“I have the two most important things in my life. Everything else can be replaced,” the oil field worker said.

HOW TO HELP A donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief can help provide food, water and shelter for someone who has to leave their home. Help people affected by disasters like floods, tornadoes and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. To donate, people can visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.