Joplin Family Who Rode Out Storm In Bathtub Gets New Home

Tuesday, May 22nd 2012, 9:49 pm
By: Craig Day

A Joplin family, who lost their home to the deadly twister one year ago, is getting into a new home.

"We're excited," 12-year-old Hope Cauthon said. "We've been waiting for this for a whole year."

"The most exciting part is just getting them a home again," tornado survivor Sarah Cauthon, mother of 2, said.

Getting into a home again is a huge accomplishment, considering what the Cautions and so many have been through.

"It broke me down completely to nothing and we are building ourselves back up," Sarah said.

"It sounded to me like a lion roar," 8-year-old Hayden Cauthon said.

What sounded like a lion's roar was an EF-5 tornado. More than 160 people died and as many as 1,200 were injured.

"Statistically, this should have never have happened," Keith Stammer, Emergency Management Director, said. "It's almost infinitesimally small, and yet it did."

Joplin Tornado Timeline

The tornado also damaged or destroyed 7,500 homes and businesses, including Sarah Cautions' house, while they were inside.

"We ran to the bathroom and I got the kids in and we swooped everything off the bed and put a mattress over us and held it down really tight," Sarah described.

At the moment last May, the weight of what happened hadn't hit yet. She was looking for Hayden's favorite stuffed animal after the storm, finally finding it in the debris.

"I think I've almost been in a shock for a whole year it seems," Sarah said.

But now, getting into a new home is helping, along with finding Super Bark, Hayden's stuffed toy.

"I was really happy because I can't sleep without him," Hayden said.

"I don't like storms," Hope said. "I'm even uncomfortable when it rains."

Even though the family is more fearful of storms, they say what happened made them stronger. They spend more time together, and laugh more than they used to.

Like many in Joplin, Cauthon is quick to point out they're not tornado victims, they're survivors. And a year later, as they still work to recover, they're grateful.