Amanda Harris: “We Grabbed Our First Responder Bags and Headed Out”

Published 3:57 am Saturday, April 15, 2023

Amanda Harris was singing the praises of the emergency room medical staff at Merit Health River Region. When she and her husband, David, pulled up in their vehicle with a woman who had been severely injured in the Rolling Fork tornado, she said seven people came out to help.

But these doctors and nurses may not have had the opportunity to provide medical treatment had the couple not been in the Delta town to help.

Immediately after hearing about the tornado that hit Rolling Fork on the night of March 24, Harris said she told her husband, “Look they are saying they need help and they are needing help now from anybody that is first aid certified.” Amanda and her husband are both CPR and first aid certified, so they grabbed their first responder bags and headed out.

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Upon arriving at the dark, desolate and debris ridden city, Harris said, they went right to work.

They came upon a family whose trailer was located behind Chuck’s Dairy Bar. In the 170 mph winds from the EF-4 tornado, a woman who lived there had been thrown from her home.

Harris said she and her husband quickly moved the woman to their vehicle. Once she was stabilized, the couple drove the woman and her son, who had also been thrown “about 100 yards from the home,” 40 miles south to the hospital in Vicksburg.

Harris said the woman’s son was at first resistant to receiving any treatment, but after the hospital staff insisted with care and concern that he be examined, he let them check for injuries.

“They made sure these people were well taken care of,” Harris said of the ER medical staff.

Confident the woman and her son were in good hands, The Harrises returned to Rolling Fork and stayed until 6 the next morning as part of the search and rescue team.

The Monday after the storm, Harris said, she went to River Region to check on the woman but was told she had been transferred to the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Harris cannot recall her name, although she knew it the night of the tornado.

“I had her name, her birthday, her medical history — I had that all written on my arm to be able to tell them (the medical staff at the hospital) when we got to the hospital. But no doubt it had rubbed off after a night of looking for survivors,” Harris said.

Hopefully, one day soon, Harris will find out the name of the woman she helped because she still has her coat.

“It’s at my house because it’s all she had left. This coat may not mean anything to anybody, but this is the only thing she has left of her house, and I just want to make sure she got her jacket back,” Harris said.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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