Shelby has three young children – the youngest of which is just 3 months old. She and her mom moved to Kansas less than a year ago and Shelby says she put everything she had into a nice home for her mother and children.
When she learned an EF-2 tornado was headed for her neighborhood in Baxter Springs, she and her mother got the kids in her car to drive away from the storm. She didn’t trust her 100-year-old home. But the tornado was coming fast, so her neighbor invited her into her home. Shelby’s mom and the two older children ran inside and down to the basement. But Shelby struggled to get baby Jaden out of his car seat. When she looked behind her, the tornado was getting closer and closer. She pulled as hard as she could and finally broke the baby loose. They ran into the house and headed downstairs. She made it down a few stairs and the house began to collapse in on her and baby Jaden. She managed to hand her son off and made it the rest of the way down.
When they knew the tornado passed, they began digging out. Shelby was the first to make it up the stairs.
“I told my neighbor, ‘your house is gone!’” said Shelby.
Luckily, everyone in the home was safe, but the house was completely leveled.
“I just can’t believe it. I keep saying it over and over, but I just can’t believe it,” said Shelby.
The next few days were a blur and she knew her house was still standing, but wasn’t sure if they would be able to continue living there. When she returned to her home a couple days after the storm, her TV and other valuables had been stolen. She felt helpless. She had flashbacks of her son in the car and her struggle to get him out.
“I just keep holding him and telling him ‘we almost lost you,’” said Shelby. “I just remember thinking, ‘’’if I have to break his legs, I’m going to get him out!’”
By the end of the week, her smile was coming back and she was in awe of the help she had received from not only the Red Cross, but other community volunteers. The Red Cross served her family warm meals and offered her a safe place to stay. She received comfort from Red Cross mental health workers, and area volunteers cleaned her yard and boarded up windows.
The Red Cross continues to provide assistance to the people of Baxter Springs and surrounding areas affected by recent tornadoes.