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Kennett, MO

Storm Survivors

Storm Survivors
By: CJ Cassidy

Kennett, MO -Folks near Kennett spent the day cleaning up, after an F-2 tornado swept through parts of Dunklin County.

But residents there, consider themselves lucky, not just because they survived the storms, but because they live near one man who gives new meaning to the old phrase "love thy neighbor".

Sunday night's tornado left Ray Parson's home, a pile of rubble.

It did the same to his neighbor's mobile home.

Amazingly enough, the parsons and their neighbors escaped with a few scrapes, and folks in the area say it's all thanks to their quick thinking neighbor.

"I turned Channel 12 on, and saw they were flashing storm warnings, and come outside to see big black clouds in the Kennett area," Parsons says.

Despite having just had heart surgery, Parsons reacted quickly, and rushed to check next door on Cloris Reeves.

"She came to the door, and I said there's a tornado comin' honey you gotta get out of this trailer. That's when they all come out and said what're we gonna do? I said we're gonna get in our hall throw a mattress over us," he remembers.

"I went to the back door, and was watching there, and there were three of them, and the one in the middle was big, and coming toward us," Parsons says.

Here's an idea of the sheer force of the winds that swept through the area: the winds picked up Parson's truck and tossed it about a quarter of a mile away from his home where it was parked.

"He's my hero," Neighbor Willie Reeves says, adding he can never thank Parsons enough for saving his wife's life.

"He took the time to come over here, and risked his life to do what he did," he says.

As for Parsons' 13-year-old daughter Danielle, she's more than proud of her dad. "He's the reason we're still alive," she says.

But the only glory this military veteran cares about is "Old Glory"; he already has his flag flying high.

Now he's ready to take on the next challenge; putting the pieces of his life back together.

"I wouldn't say I'm a hero. I love my neighbors they'd do the same for me," he says.

Ironically Ray Parsons' says his neighbor and her friends did help save his life and his daughters.

That's because they had planned to hide under some concrete steps behind their home, but there wasn't enough room for them all, so that's why they chose to hide out in the hallway.

When the storm cleared, Parsons says he came out to find the steps had collapsed.

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