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.