“Is that what I think it is?”

By Michelle Tanner, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross

“Is that what I think it is?”

Stacie Douthitt asked her husband that question as she looked out her kitchen window on December 26, 2015. She was starting to wash the dinner dishes when she saw what she thought was a funnel cloud heading directly for their home.

“If you think it is a tornado, it is,” her husband replied.

They grabbed their five kids and two dogs and ran across the street to their neighbor’s storm cellar as the tornado descended upon them. As they lifted the door the tornado descended upon them and lifted two of the children off the ground. John, the husband, grabbed the children out of the air as their mom pulled them into the cellar. The family waited out the storm in the small space with a flashlight, some candles and some blankets.

The storm cellar where the Douthitt family sheltered from the storm.
The storm cellar where the Douthitt family sheltered from the storm.

The worst part for the family was that John, the husband, was hit by something on his arm that severed an artery and severed his tricep muscle. The family created a tourniquet from a blanket as they waited for an ambulance to arrive to transport him to the hospital.

The hospital was able to repair his arm and he now has a long road to recover from his injuries.

After much encouragement, Stacie came into the Collin County Multi Agency Resource Center to see what assistance the agencies could provide. The American Red Cross entered her into the system and was able to offer some immediate financial assistance. They also had the nurses in the field check his bandages to see if anything needed to be cleaned or replaced and offered mental health support as the family recovers from this disaster.

Stacie Douthitt with her rescue horses. The tornado's path of destruction can be seen in the background.
Stacie Douthitt with her rescue horses. The tornado’s path of destruction can be seen in the background.

To help families, like the Douthitts, that were affected by the December tornadoes in North Texas and other disasters, please donate at www.redcross.org/donate.

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