May 22, 2012 • By

Tougher than a tornado

Stanley Goetz probably should not be alive today.

The fact that he’s working his shift on a production line at our Joplin, Mo., plant defies all odds and logic. It’s a credit to his doctors and to Stanley’s determination to recover, for sure.

So we wanted to share his story on the anniversary of the Joplin tornado.

As people across the city were alerted to what would be one of the deadliest tornadoes in history, Stanley had just walked out of Joplin’s Walmart and sat down behind the wheel of his pickup truck.

Tornado sirens sounded as he clicked his seat belt. A radio announcer said the tornado was on the ground, heading right toward his location.

Like many in Joplin that heartbreaking night, he had nowhere to go.

Logic suggests that anyone caught in a pickup truck lifted into the air by an EF5 tornado, spun around and flipped for 500 yards, would probably not survive.

But after I listened to Stanley tell me his story in this audio interview, I suggest we shouldn’t always trust logic.

“I didn’t even have time to turn the key or anything and it hit me,” Stanley says, “You’ve never felt anything until you’re in a full-size automobile going from zero to 250 miles per hour in the snap of a finger.”

Though Stanley suffered serious injuries and was in a coma for 13 days, he was able to recover and go back to work last fall.

He’s been working at our Joplin plant for 12 years.

You can hear from several more of our Joplin employees, about where they were a year ago as the tornado hit the city, in these video interviews:

“Stories from Joplin”

“Two of the many heroes in Joplin”

“Thankful to be alive”

“Relief in the midst of tragedy”

“Reliving a tornado’s terror”