Saturday, May 28, 2011

Husband gave life to save wife from tornado — ‘He was my hero’

By Zachary Roth
Fri May 27, 11:39 am ET

As a tornado tore his Joplin, Mo., home apart, Don Lansaw did what came naturally: He threw himself on top of his wife Bethany to protect her. And in doing so, he gave his life for her.
Lansaw's is just one of several tales of heroism, heartbreak, and amazing escapes that have emerged from the spate of violent weather events that swept the center of the country this week. As many as 125 people are thought to have been killed by the Joplin tornado alone.
"The house was ripping apart, it all happened so fast," Bethany Lansaw told NBC News. "All the pillows were flying off of us, the only thing I managed to do was keep one in front of my face."

Once the wind died down, Bethany recounted, she looked over to see that her husband was turning blue. He died before she could find an ambulance to get him to the hospital.
Don, 31, was a former high-school football star, and owned a machine shop. Bethany, 25, worked at a local university. The couple had been married six years and planned to start a family.
"You know, people kept saying he wouldn't have wanted it any other way, but if I could have taken twice as much damage just to have him alive, I would have," Bethany said.
"He did what he could to protect his family," she added. "He's my hero."
Also in Joplin, Will Norton was driving home from his graduation ceremony with his dad when the tornado struck. Norton, 18, looked to have a bright future: A YouTube channel he created called "Wildabeast," in which he posted comedy routines, had almost 1.5 million hits:
As the Hummer H3 started to flip, Norton's seat-belt snapped, and he went flying through the roof of the vehicle, as his dad tried in vain to catch him. Afterward, the only trace of him was his cellphone and graduation cap.
Meanwhile, in Oklahoma's Canadian County, Hank Hamil cried at a news conference after his 3-year old son Ryan was found dead, floating in a lake. Hamil's other son, 15-month old Cole, was also killed by Tuesday night's violent storm.
"I lost both of my boys," Hamil said through tears. "Ryan was my little buddy. Cole was too. I loved them both."

But there were also happier stories. Cecelia Beveridge of Joplin showed CNN how she and her husband survived after taking refuge in a tiny closet.
"We stood huddled in here," she said. "The next thing we knew the roof was off, and we were getting hail and rain and everything on us."
"I had my arms locked around my husband and I was just saying please dear God in heaven, just please let us all get out of this alive," Beveridge recounted. "That's all I ask."

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