Four children who were injured in a tornado that took their grandparents’ lives are all improving and even had the opportunity to visit with one another in the hospital.
Since the tornado ripped through Duette early Sunday morning, the community has rallied around the family, raising more than $18,000 to help with medical and funeral expenses, as well as helping to relocate the family who lost their home in the tornado. A GoFundMe page was set up Sunday afternoon.
The tornado that hit at 3:20 a.m. Sunday took the lives of Stephen and Kelli Wilson, picking up their doublewide mobile home on Albritton Road and dropping it 100 yards from its foundation. The Wilsons’ son, Stephen, his three children and a cousin all survived. As of Monday, all four children and the father were in stable condition.
Stephen’s father was found dead in the debris after the storm; the tornado caused Stephen’s mother to have a heart attack, and she later died.
Brendan Betancourt, a family friend, set up the GoFundMe page to “help alleviate some of the medical expenses, burial costs and incidental expenses that have come up during this trying time to this great family,” according to the page.
When Betancourt woke up Sunday to find out that one of his friend’s family was affected, he wanted to help.
“Brothers and sisters, we take care of each other,” he said. “It is a horrible story.”
Betancourt said the family is “just overwhelmed with all of the support they are receiving.”
“It is overwhelming and nice to see us come together as a community,” he said. “They have a lot of pieces to pick up and financially he is not able to solve all them. It’s the best we can do for them to be together as a family.”
A picture posted on the GoFundMe page a little after 2 p.m. Monday shows the four children in a hospital room, smiling. The update reads: these 4 are alive, stable and well today thanks to my brother Stephen Wilson!”
The children’s injuries ranged from internal injuries such as a liver laceration and collapsed lung to head lacerations and multiple abrasions, according to the GoFundMe page.