Jacksboro tornado survivors calling event a ‘miracle’

No deaths were reported after an EF-3 tornado hit the city.
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 8:23 PM CDT
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JACKSBORO, Texas (KAUZ) - Jacksboro Elementary School Principal Michael Qualls awoke Tuesday morning to find their community in ruins.

“I feel like it was a movie I saw; I still don’t feel like I lived through it,” Qualls said. “I don’t think reality had set in quite yet.”

On Monday, an EF-3 tornado made its way through the city and eventually toward Jacksboro Elementary, where over 400 students, including 10-year-old Kenadee Sell, were sheltering.

“My friends were scared; I was scared. We didn’t know what was going on,” Sell said. “We thought something bad was happening, but we didn’t recognize that the tornado had touched our school.”

Ironically enough, school staff was preparing to go through a tornado drill this week, leaving teachers fresh off training. And, as the entire roof was blown off of the school’s gymnasium, that training took action.

READ: NWS releases preliminary report on Monday tornadoes

“God prepared all of our staff at that moment, and when it happened, the drill turned into reality,” Qualls said.

Ultimately, it was the Jacksboro staff that allowed for hundreds of young lives to be saved.

“If we didn’t have wonderful teachers, I don’t really know if we would have made it through this,” Sell said.

Less than 200 feet away from the school, 90-year-old Francis Wilson said she cheated death when she hunkered down inside a shower as the extreme gusts leveled the back half of her home, including the roof right above her head.

“God had a hand in it; that’s the way I look at it,” Wilson said. “He had a hand over me because I shouldn’t have made it out of here.”

Officials estimate that nearly 60 to 80 homes were damaged, with debris stretching over two miles in the storm. And while the scene of Jacksboro shows a picture of devastation, the blessing of life has become the foundation for this community to rebuild.

“Things happen, I know, but God saved us,” Sell said. “God made this miracle happen; he saved our lives.”

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