"Kokomo strong" message brings inspiration to tornado survivors - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

"Kokomo strong" message brings inspiration to tornado survivors

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Rachel Blair Rachel Blair
KOKOMO, Ind. -

We're looking at homes that have been destroyed and families who have lost everything. But out of this destruction we're seeing in Kokomo comes a story of inspiration: a storm victim who lost her home, but that hasn't stopped her from helping others.

There's a slogan floating around here: KokomoStrong.  It's the true embodiment of Hoosiers helping Hoosiers in Kokomo after the storms. 

Between the United Way, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, nearly 50 people have been provided shelter and more than 400 meals have served in and throughout the community. 

At the American Red Cross shelter at the Carver Community Center Wednesday morning, we met Rachel Blair and her husband, Rodney.  She's not only a Red Cross volunteer, but she's also a storm victim.  She tells us about the first moment they saw their home after the storm. 

"I live in a trailer park and as we pulled in, the very first one we saw was a friend of ours and their entire roof blown off and wrapped around a telephone pole. So I instantly was crying.  When I first got to my home, all the skirting on the one end was totally ripped out. Lots of debris everywhere," said Rachel.

See a slide show of storm damage pictures.

For Rachel and her family, all of this is a double whammy.  Her husband was already suffering from severe medical conditions.

"He's blind, he cannot walk, he has massive bone loss from dialysis.  He's been dialyzing for nearly seven years and he is anemic, he has heart problems and of course the kidney failure on top of that," said Rachel.

But, despite all she's going through, Rachel is relying on her volunteer spirit to help her get through.  She's grateful for the American Red Cross helping her though this difficult time and giving her the opportunity to help others.

"I was raised that way, I've done it my whole life, volunteering different things helping with people.  So, it's a drive I can't stop," said Rachel.

See a slide show of rainbows after Sunday's storms.

Resources for volunteers and storm survivors.

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