Rolling Fork, MS (March 31, 2023) - It was Friday evening when to storm came through Gloris’ Street in Rolling Fork.
Gloris and her cousin Jacqueline were outside talking and watching their kids and grandkids ride bikes down their quiet street when Gloris heard the emergency tornado warning alert on her phone. “All of a sudden it went dark,” she said.
Gloris hurriedly headed back with her family toward her home across the street when Jacqueline yelled, “They just spotted a tornado on the ground around the corner, ya’ll come to my house!”
When Jacqueline’s husband pulled up a few moments later, the wind was violently rocking the cars and rattling the windows. Anticipating power loss from the storm, her husband went outside to crank up the generator, only to be pushed back by the wind's fierceness. When he heard their oak tree in the backyard crack and split, he turned to push his way back inside when the wind began to pull him back. “Ya’ll run, run!” he yelled to his family.
Finally able to make his way inside, he hurried everyone into Jacquelin’s daughters’ room and told all seven kids and four adults to wedge between the twin beds. He pulled one of the mattresses over them for protection. “It wasn’t five minutes when the tornado came and took off the roof, the mattress protecting us, and then began to suck up Jacqueline’s grandbaby,” Gloris said, “She was up above the bed when her cousin grabbed her arm and pulled back down.”
“We looked up when it took off the mattress and saw just a large black funnel with stuff all in it, like metal siding and legs from the furniture. It was the craziest experience I’ve every experienced in my life.”
Jacquelin’s husband grabbed the mattress from the second bed and pulled it onto them. She said she kept hearing her babies crying but was grateful for even that sound because it meant they were still alive.
“I prayed as I’d never prayed before. God held us steadfast, and we didn’t have one injury.”
Still, it’s the sentimental losses that are so difficult. “All my children’s baby pictures are just gone. It’s all gone.”
They need help and assistance recovering but are still grateful their family is safe and alive. “My schoolmate who worked at The Dollar General Store just up the road is dead. “There is nothing but a concrete slab left of that store.”
The Salvation Army team prayed with Gloris and her family and distributed shelf-stable meals and beverages for hydration.
The Salvation Army deployed emergency units within hours of the tornado's touchdown and continues to send roving emergency units into the impacted communities to serve and provide help and hope to those when they need it most.