It happened a quiet afternoon in Southeast Texas. As Kim White and her son Ethan were sitting in the porch of their home, a tornado was approaching Onalaska, TX, a small community in Polk County.
“A big black cloud developed. I took an eighteen-second video of it,” says Kim with fear in her eyes. “When I saw stuff flying around, I closed the door, grabbed my purse, grabbed my dog and went with Ethan to the bathroom,” Kim remembers. Then their house blew away.
But as they say, after the storm came a calm.
Ethan White suffered cuts in his hand and had to get stitches at a local hospital. That’s where one of the nurses told the Whites they should go directly to the Holiday Inn. The nurse said “that’s where the Red Cross is. They’ll take care of you,” Kim explains.
After over a week sheltered at the hotel, the White family feels gratitude for the comfort and care they have received from Red Cross volunteers. “Here we’ve been treated very well,” says Kim’s husband George, “it’s been amazing,” he adds.
The Whites’ home was totally destroyed, and they are now starting to recover from the disaster. “The Red Cross is doing a fantastic work. We are very well pleased by what’s going on,” reflects Kim White, as she talks to a case worker. With guidance from the Red Cross and community partners they will face a new phase in the recovery process to get their lives back to normal.
However, during the hardest moments after the tornado, the Red Cross was there with immediate help for the Whites and hundreds of families in Southeast Texas.
Survivors Kim and George White talk to volunteer Peter Mozie at a hotel shelter in Livingston, TX, where the Red Cross is providing emergency lodging for people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the powerful tornado that hit Onalaska, TX, on April 22, 2020.