Joplin Tornado Survivor, 14, Comes To OK To Counsel Storm Victims

Friday, June 21st 2013, 10:22 pm
By: News 9

A 14-year-old tornado survivor from Missouri is using her story to counsel young storm victims in Moore.

Kayla Carmona lost her father and 8-year-old sister two years ago, as they rode out the Joplin tornado in their church. Even though it's been two years since the Joplin tornado, for Kayla, coming and seeing the devastation in Moore was still overwhelming.

In front of what use to be Plaza Towers Elementary stands a white tent called the Hope Station. It's where Kayla will spend her summer telling her story of survival, and resilience.

"It gives me hope because, like to see me standing two years later, it gives them hope that they can still be standing," said Kayla. "It feels good to know someone is there and know what I'm feeling and to know that I have someone to talk to and they know exactly what I'm trying to say."  

Kayla was with her family when the Joplin tornado ripped through their church in May 2011. Her 8-year-old sister and father didn't make it.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

"It wasn't that I just lost them. I was with them when they died," said Kayla. "My sister was right beside me."

Kayla is a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, and says every time she tells her story to survivors it helps in her healing process.

"There's always hope. God does have a plan and a purpose for it. That's why it happened in the first place and the only thing you can see is the good out of it," said Kayla.

The Hope Station was created after the Joplin tornado and it's a place where people can come and share their hearts, their grief and their prayers.

On Sunday, volunteers at the Hope Station will be handing out donated toys to Moore tornado survivors from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.