As a powerful tornado approached the Decker's family home in Henryville, Indiana, Stephanie Decker had only seconds to think—but, it was enough for her maternal instincts to take over. She rushed to the basement to protect her two boys, ages five and eight.
Then, the torment of a tornado rained down on her and the boys.
“They're screaming, 'Mommy, I can't live without you. I don't want to die. Please don't die,'” she said.
Stephanie survived, but suffered seven broken ribs and both her legs were amputated. But, thankfully, her family is alive.
At the same time, in another Henryville neighborhood, Jason Miller tried to shelter a family of five, as well as toddler Angel Babcock, in his mobile home.
"I put my arm kind of over Angel and got her to get down, you know. I was like down. I told her, I said, 'Lay down flat!' and I just kind of reached my arms and said 'Get in close! Lay down flat!' That's like the only thing I remember saying, and I just started praying," Miller said.
The storm swept away the entire family, killing them all except for Angel who was torn away from her family by the storm, but then went on to survive for another 48 hours before passing away.
Survivors in other states scoured debris with a common cause and had similar success—a Missouri man kept digging until he found an engagement ring he gave his wife 10 years ago.