Storm Survivors Tell Their Stories

Storm Survivors Tell Their Stories

Jesse and Katie Maldonado are thrilled with the toys the Red Cross brought to them in Baldwin County, Alabama, along with a hot meal and cleaning supplies.

I told God to let me live, I wasn’t ready to go yet.

The American Red Cross is helping thousands of people across the Midwest and southeast whose lives were turned upside down by last week’s devastating severe weather.

Here are several stories of how the Red Cross is helping:

EXCITED TO BE ALIVE Eighty-two-year-old Liza Minter sits on a lawn chair amongst the rubble that was once her home in Louisville, Mississippi. The tornado destroyed her house, her entire neighborhood and her church. But Minter is excited to be alive. “As soon as I knew the tornado was coming I ran to the bathroom and jumped into the bathtub. My foot was hanging out and just as I pulled it in, the whole roof of the house fell on top of me,” Minter said. “I told God to let me live, I wasn’t ready to go yet.” It took Minter’s cousin, Bonnie Edwards, a Red Cross volunteer, five hours to find her buried under the debris that had fallen over the bathtub. Now Minter sits under her umbrella directing the collection of her belongings by family members. Her cousin reports the Red Cross has been around to check up on everyone and bring meals to those cleaning up after the tornado.

WE’RE ALL OKAY Steve Daniel and Susan Quinn were out of town when a tornado recently pummeled their neighborhood in Louisville, MS. “If we would have been home, it would have killed us,” Daniel realized as he look at the debris scattered over the four-acre property. Their home was destroyed.

Now, they sit on their front steps, with only pieces of a house left behind them. Neighbors come and give their support and encourage them as they start to recover from shock. “We’re ok, we are all okay,” Steve says repeatedly as if to ingrain the message in his mind. “The Red Cross has just done so much,” Quinn said. “They check in on us often, feed us several hot meals a day, give us leather gloves, and even make sure we have sunscreen. We just can’t thank you enough.”

ESCAPED JUST IN TIME The Maldonado family were sleeping in their Baldwin County, Alabama home when Kelly Maldonado realized water was beginning to enter their home. She had just enough time to wake her children, Jesse, age 7 and Katie, age 3, and escape by boat through their front yard. The water was up to their windows; their neighbor’s home completely submerged.

"We are doing good now and we've started to clean up,” Maldonado said. The Red Cross is providing cleaning supplies and warm meals. Perhaps just as important, the Red Cross also gave the children games and toys. Katie immediately hugged her new pink rabbit and her brother’s face lit up with laughter.

STORM KNOCKED ON THEIR DOOR Mary Parker and Gary Amerson were watching the weather radar with Amerson’s young son at their apartment in Limestone County, Alabama when suddenly they heard a knock on their front door. Amerson opened the door to be greeted by baseball size hail and a tornado touching down in their front yard. Amerson was pushed into another room where walls were falling.

Amerson’s son become airborne and Parker secured him under a recliner, one of the few pieces of furniture remaining. She laid on top of him, saving his life. When she was able to stand and assess the damage, she began to throw debris to the side in search of Amerson. After 20 minutes she found him, dazed and confused, but able to walk away from this tragic event. All three suffered moderate injuries but did not need to be hospitalized. “Thank God for the Red Cross in Limestone County,” Amerson said. “They are helping me begin the road to recovery”.

HOW TO HELP Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.