Family lucky to be alive
She couldn’t have imagined what happened next. “It was spooky; it was really spooky,” she said. “I heard this big old roar and I hollered for my kids.” The storm uprooted a huge tree nearby and sent it careening though the house. Stone’s two youngest children, Stephen and Brett, were sitting downstairs and her two oldest, TJ and Michael, were upstairs playing a video game. All Stone had time to do was grab her youngest and dive under a table. Miraculously, the tree avoided everyone in the house, but it blocked all the exits. “We couldn’t get out either door,” she said.
Neighbors quickly came to their aid and helped the family escape the house through windows. Stone thanked God that her family was safe. Still, the damage was done.
“I guess I have a broken house,” she said. Stone and her family are renting an apartment “until the insurance company decides what it wants to do.” The rest of what’s owed on the house may be covered, but Stone isn’t sure if she’s covered beyond that. She’d like to rebuild in the same spot. “All my memories are here,” said Stone. She said the Red Cross has provided help.
“It also affected a neighbor temporarily,” said David Goldsberry, Licking County Red Cross emergency services director, who recalled the incident. He said the Red Cross can make sure that people who experience disasters have basic necessities – food, clothing, shelter, and the like – and necessary medical attention.
Goldsberry said the Red Cross could cover a hotel room for up to three nights for displaced families, providing them an opportunity to contact their insurance companies or make living arrangements. “We can buy them some time to think about it,” said Goldsberry. For larger emergencies, the Red Cross will establish shelters for many people. He said the Red Cross will also work with disaster victims in the long term to “get them back to their pre-disaster lifestyle,” or as close to it as possible, as soon as possible.
Goldsberry said nine times out of ten, whatever authority was involved in the rescue, whether it’s the sheriff’s department, police, or fire department, will tell them who needs what type of help. He said it’s rare that the disaster victim makes initial contact with the Red Cross.
Stone said the fallen tree was, unfortunately, just one more incident in a long line of tough circumstances, which included her father’s recent passing. Oddly enough, the tree came to rest on a picture of her father. “I believe he saved us,” she said.