1. Jeffrey Hunter, a senior at the University of Central Arkansas, knew he wasn’t going to make it through the tornado that was hurtling toward his hiding place in a bathroom in Vilonia, Ark.
2. The student texted his mom, who was 20 miles away. “First he said, ‘Mama, I’m so scared,’” Regina Wood, Hunter’s mother, told KFTA. “He knew how bad it was, these say it’s going to be a direct hit.”
3. Hunter sent his mother two final texts: “Goodbye mama….” and “It’s heading right for me.”
4. All Wood could do was update her son through text on where the EF-4 tornado was headed, and try to reassure him he would be OK.
“I kept saying, ‘Are you OK? Are you OK? Let me know. Let me know.’ No answer,” Wood recalled.
5. A few homes down from where Hunter was hiding with his father and stepmother, Lyman Watkins crawled out of the closet he hid in with his wife and five dogs.
“All you could hear was horns going off and people hollering, ‘Help help,’” Watkins said.
6. After crawling out of the rubble, Watkins found Hunter lying unconscious on the ground.
Hunter’s father and stepmother both survived, but were seriously injured.
7. At least 15 people were killed in Arkansas from tornadoes, with 37 total deaths in eight states from the worst tornado outbreak so far this year.
8. Though she lost her only son, Regina said she was comforted that despite his fear, he thought to say good-bye to his mom.
“That was the most precious thing a son could do for a mother,” she said through tears.
Update: If you want to donate to the affected communities, the United Way of Central Arkansas is accepting donations. You can specify on the donation form that you want it directed to their Arkansas Tornado Relief Fund.
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