Given that more than half of the people who died in the Joplin, Mo., tornado on May 22 died in their homes, it’s amazing Cedric Davis and his family didn’t meet the same fate.
Cedric, a production utility employee at our General Mills manufacturing facility in Joplin, had just gotten home from a baseball tournament that one of his two sons was playing in when the tornado sirens sounded.
In this video interview, he explained to me how he and his family took cover in a hallway in the middle of their house while the tornado’s winds tore his home apart.
You can see where that hallway was in the center of this photo of what’s left of Cedric’s home.
Cedric and his family had to lift walls and other debris in order to uncover themselves.
Once free, Cedric pulled some of his clothes out of a closet to put on some children in his neighborhood who were cold from the rain and wind.
At the same time, a Joplin High School student who had been driving home from her graduation ceremony came up to Cedric and his neighbors and said she couldn’t find her mother, who had been sucked out of their vehicle by the tornado.
Cedric helped locate the injured woman in the debris on his street and put her and the girl in his father-in-law’s truck and drove them to Freeman Hospital.
Cedric says he keeps asking himself “What if?” when he thinks back to the night of the tornado. He’s grateful his family survived.
He also says the tornado taught him the importance of having a storm shelter, and he plans to build one in his family’s new house.
Editor’s note: We’ll conclude our special series of posts featuring our Joplin employees affected by the May 22 tornado, tomorrow. We started our series with this post, featuring some of the experiences of several of our employees.