Surviving the Joplin Tornado Book Excerpt

I recently wrote a book about surviving a natural disaster. I was living in Joplin, Missouri when an EF5 tornado tore a path right through the city in May of 2011. When you live through an experience like that it certainly makes you see things differently. I feel very lucky to be alive.

Here is an excerpt from this book:

When I opened the front door of my house I could see that my porch was totally gone. We had to climb over downed trees that once served as shade in the front yard. There was debris everywhere that I assume came from the neighborhood.

One of the first things that I saw was the back end of my minivan that was parked in front of my house. My first thought was, thank god my car had been spared. But when I walked closer I could see that was not the case. Even though it was parked in the same spot, it had been damaged beyond repair. The body was badly dented and the windows were all shattered. The whole interior was completely ripped to shreds and the tires were flat.

I couldn’t believe my eyes as I looked around the neighborhood. It looked like a bomb had been dropped on it. We lived between 26th and 27th street on Kentucky Avenue. My neighbor Nate said that everyone on our block was alive and accounted for. But the next block up there was a lot more damage and people died. He suggested that I go across the street to his house and join some of the other neighbors that were gathering in his basement.

It was still very stormy and I was worried that another tornado was going to hit. So Edie and I joined the others in Nate’s basement. But there was no power and it was getting so dark that you couldn’t see anything. After what we had just been through it was really terrifying to be in a strange place in total darkness so I took Edie back upstairs. I walked around the house looking for somewhere to sit with her but there wasn’t one. The floor was totally covered with broken glass and I was worried that the pads of her feet were going to get cut. I didn’t know else what to do so I took her back outside. There was no safe place to take her under the conditions that I was faced with.

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