Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tex Versus the Tornado

by Suzanne Wiley, volunteer contributor

Van resident Tex, who was injured during the Van tornado
is comforted by a Red Cross nurse. Photo Credit: CBS11
I stood outside the American Red Cross shelter with Van resident, Tex. As he was telling me his story, he looked up at the sky, pointed and said, “That’s what worries me.” I looked up to where he was pointing at the darkening, thick clouds looming over the Van water tower. “We don’t need any more of that.”  

What you can’t see from the shelter is the destruction from the 700-yards wide tornado that struck the small town just a few blocks away from where we were standing.

Tex and his wife were both injured by flying debris during the tornado, but despite the physical pain and shock of what had happened, he shared his story.

Around 8:15, Tex’s wife received a storm alert on her phone and very shortly after, Van’s tornado warning sirens started blaring. Tex and his wife left their trailer home for their daughter’s house. He remembers the wind and the hail. Tex looks me straight in the eyes and tells me that as soon as they arrived at their daughter’s house, “Whamo!” The tornado had hit.

Miraculously, after the tornado passed, Tex, his wife and six others were alive. They found themselves somehow landing on top of all the lumber that used to be the house. The tornado took the whole house.

By the time I had met Tex he already become a local celebrity. Anxious to meet him, he told me he had already signed one autograph already. All the local news outlets had interviewed him on camera. As we were talking about what happens next for him and his family, an old friend stopped by to joke with Tex about how he didn’t win the fight. Someone responded, “Oh yeah, you should see that two by four!”

The lightheartedness of the joke made everyone smile. The people of Van need smiles. But in all seriousness, the people of Van know firsthand that weather doesn’t joke around. Fortunately, for Tex and his family, he did win this particular fight.

To download the free tornado alert app from the Red Cross, visit

To donate to aid in relief efforts, visit

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