The other day we shared with you the interview of a Houston Storm Chaser who helped rescue a woman from the debris of her Fruitvale tornado-demolished home. Today we’re sharing the incredible story of that woman, and her name is Vicki Ferguson. Vicki and her husband Jim were in the process of building a new home and a new business. Now, everything is gone except their dreams and their hope, and a whole lot of people who are helping them pick up the pieces. Here is our interview:
It seems like these storms caught a lot of people off guard. Did you have any warning that severe weather was coming?
We lived in our travel trailer while we were building a barndominium; half house, half machine shop. We were in the trailer watching the local news when my husband yelled, “We have to take cover now!”
Did you see or hear the tornado before it hit?
We were not able to see anything in the sky. I remember observing the sky had very low hanging clouds, but we could not see anything. When we ran in our building and jumped under the mattress. That’s when we heard the stereotypical train sound, and then it was like a bomb went off. The tornado hit within seconds of us climbing under the mattress.
“We were in the trailer watching the local news when my husband yelled, ‘We have to take cover now!'”
What happened when it hit?
We did not even have time to process the what-ifs. I only remember grabbing the mattress and hearing the sound. I do remember the mattress being ripped off of us. That must have been when I was hit in the head.
After the tornado had passed, was it difficult getting out of the debris? What happened?
As soon as the mattress was torn from our hands, the tornado was leaving. We were still laying on the now relocated bed box spring. I remember seeing my husband stand up and walk across the now bare slab. He quickly grabbed his neck and laid down on the cement floor, moaning. At that time I was still laying down. I was trying to figure out exactly what happened. Dazed, I managed to sit up, realizing blood was coming from my head. That is when my angel, named Hank, was going through the property next door looking through overturned vehicles for survivors.
“Some people say you can’t see God. I disagree. I have seen him in lots of people.”
— Vicki Ferguson
I heard him yelling in cars looking for people. That is when I stood up and he saw me and ran over to us. I do remember him yelling at the second responders, since he was the first! Lol. When the responders reached Jim, that’s when Hank said, “I am taking you to the hospital.”
We laughed and joked all the way. The reality of my husband and I being alive was miraculous. There room for celebrating!
And how are you now? Are your family and friends OK, physically anyway?
I have a nasty cut across my face. I suffered a concussion and still feel a little dizzy at times. Jim suffered two fractures in his neck. At this writing, this is his seventh day in the trauma unit, mostly for pain control. The doctor said surgery was not necessary, but he will be in a neck brace for weeks to come. Unless God’s miraculous healing will fix it sooner.
Finally, what are some ways people can help you and your community?
About helping, I am not sure for us. We had no insurance. With Hubby still in hospital, I am still trying to figure things out. I know my daughter has started a fundraiser campaign. As far as the community, there are churches taking food and toiletries donations here in Fruitvale, or you can contact the Fruitvale Texas Water department.
We were born and raised in Texas, but lived in Seattle for years. I want people reading this to understand how completely amazing Texans are! People like Hank, the perfect stranger willing to help; lots of family and friends and even strangers are willing to help clean up and care for people they don’t even know. Some people say you can’t see God. I disagree. I have seen him in lots of people!
If you would like to help Fruitvale tornado survivors, and other victims across East Texas, check out KLTV’s article listing donation areas, volunteer opportunities, and other resources: www.KLTV.com