Hospitalized tornado victim tells story of survival


Reporter- Elizabeth Fields
Photojournalist- Randall Barnes

Brookport, Ill.- Sitting up In her hospital bed 78-year-old Mamie Thorton clutched a necklace in her hands. It's one of the few things she has left after the EF-3 tornado tore through her town and tossed her home.

Thorton was just returning from church when she turned on her T.V. to see the storm warning. She said she could hear the wood ripping from her mobile home as she ran for the bathroom.

"When I did the stuff inside it threw me across knocked me out I guess," she said. "And that's the last thing I remember." Thorton woke up outside in the grass.  "When I woke up I was screaming for help and I kept screaming for about 15 minutes and my neighbor across the street came running."

Thorton's leg was broken and her back fractured. Neighbors and family waited with her out in the rain for an hour and a half until an ambulance came to take her to the hospital.  

"Oh, it was terrible, terrible," she said.

Her home was on its roof. The side torn wide open. Thorton's family collected her possessions from the property while she underwent surgery.

"They took it to the barn at the church, what I had left," she said. What she does have is her faith, and that necklace she holds in her hand. 

"They found it right there where I was sitting," she said. The scripture on it now has more meaning. "It says, 'I will never leave you.' He didn't leave me either."According to emergency management officials Thorton is one of 33 people hospitalized after the storm.


Thorton isn't sure when she'll be able to get out the hospital, she will have to go through some physical therapy. She will live with one of her children until she can figure out how to get back on her feet. She owned her mobile home, but didn't have insurance.