Surveying the open land, all that is in sight is a small concrete structure with a battered and beaten American Flag secured to its wall. The remnants of what once was a home consist of a few bricks and the foundation.
Marshall Butler recalled that when he built the shelter of thick reinforced concrete, it was a neighborhood joke. But after the April 30 tornado swept through Louisville, MS, nobody was laughing at the little building where a dozen people road out the storm.
“They told me it wasn’t strong enough. They never thought it was worth my time.” he said. Family and neighbors waited inside the small structure for nearly an hour: waiting for someone to let them know the storm had passed.
“The 40 minutes sitting inside there was the longest wait of my life…I thought we were all going to die,” his wife, Mary Butler, said through tears as she recalled those terrifying minutes.
Disabled from scoliosis, Mary said she felt lost as she sat in the middle of what used to be her home. But the American Red Cross will be meeting with the Butlers to help them plan out their long term recovery.
While they have lost everything, they are not alone in their time of need. Family, friends, neighbors, and the Red Cross are rallying around them to ensure their needs are met. As the Butlers found out, personal preparedness for man-made and natural disasters can mean the difference of life or death.
To learn more about ensuring your family is prepared for disaster you can visit www.redcross.org/prepare for tips and resources that will help safeguard your family when disaster strikes.