By Lauren Clarke, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross
Joyce Howard, her husband and their 13-year-old daughter had just arrived to their home in Garland on Saturday night, after visiting a friend’s house for a holiday dinner. The family was feeling grateful to have missed the storm until they heard on the radio that in Sunnyvale a tornado had touched down.
The three family members and their pet dog immediately got in the bathtub and were covered up with a comforter when they heard what sounded like a “freight train going through the living room”. While they were sitting in their bathtub, the Howards heard the sounds of glass shattering and small explosions.
When the noises died down, they went out into their house and found it looking “like a war zone”. They had seen their furniture in the kitchen, all the windows were blown out of the house and a gaping hole out into the patio with the front door missing. Joyce remembers seeing the Christmas tree hanging halfway out of the window.
Joyce and her family walked onto the street, when they saw uprooted trees everywhere, downed power lines and what looked like giant clumps of metal crumpled up and throw around as if they were pieces of paper.
Joyce started yelling, “Help”, and she and her family walked outside across a field where they found a fireman who told them to stay put. An ambulance came and took their family to the Red Cross shelter in Garland where other local families have stayed overnight and are now receiving assistance. At the shelter the families can receive hot meals, warm blankets, health and mental health care, and relief supplies.
Speaking with Joyce just now, she says, “We lost everything, [but] thank God we are alive.”
The American Red Cross has set up two shelters in this area and has helped other families like the Howards.
If you would like to help out other families that were affected by the #TXtornadoes, become a Red Cross volunteer by visiting redcross.org/volunteer.
To support to Disaster Relief, visit redcross.org/donate or text ‘REDCROSS’ to 90999 to donate.
For more information on our #TXtonadoes response, visit Red Cross Response to #TXtornadoes in December.