May 10th of 2015, a tornado found its way to the ground just SW of Van and bounced its way down Hwy 314 across Van Zandt County before touching down and ripping a path threw Van, Texas killing a well known elderly couple that chose to hunker down in their mobile home while also destroying a school, administration offices, and dozens of homes before disappearing just NE of the city limits.

My brother Jed Campbell, wife Kim and son Josh were forced into their middle bathroom when the rumbling began and survived the ordeal when the eye of the twister stayed about a hundred yards to the west of their home on Pennsylvania Street. A tree fell into the south side of their home and a 2x4 pierced the roof and embedded itself into the attic as a result of the storm.

Each home as you moved west down Pennsylvania, one by one increased the level of damage until you reached the actual path of the tornado 5 houses down. Even through Kim's terrified screams and the normal amount of panic that comes along with the moment, Jed was prepared to hold and protect his family as much as possible while  sitting on the floor of that bathroom while Josh sat guarded in the bathtub nearby.

 

East Texas has had just about enough from the "twister devil" in the last decade but as we all know just can't do a thing about it. All we CAN do is prepare as best we can for as much of the storm as we can BEFORE the storm. Set your plan in place with all in the home, flashlight placement, animal safe place, blankets for padding on hand, cell phone charged, radio battery fresh. THINK about what is a necessity apposed to "what you want". Secure things outside, check gutters for debris so rain can flow, get vehicles under cover if possible, etc. The internet is packed full of information on giving you direction and ideas on what to do before AND after severe weather hits. KLTV.com has a weather page set up with plenty of tips and suggestions on how to handle the safety process of protecting your home and family as much as possible during a tornado. "Do your homework"!! There has NEVER been a tornado victim that will tell you they "just knew a tornado was going to ruin their life right before it happened.

Tornado safety preparation tips
  1. Designate a safe room. This area can either be a storm cellar, a basement or a room on the lowest level of your home or building without any windows, like a closet.
  2. Put essentials in your safe room. ...
  3. Remove outdoor items. ...
  4. Reinforce your home. ...
  5. Contact your insurance agent
  6. Emergency Kit
    1. Water and canned or dried food – families should set aside one gallon of water per person per day, to last three days, and a three-day supply of food per person. ...
    2. Battery powered radio.
    3. Flashlight.
    4. Extra batteries for the radio and flashlight.
    5. Prescription medications.
    6. First-aid kit.