"It's been a very nerve-wrecking time," said Ambie Armstrong of Newcomerstown. Her son and his family withstood the devastating tornado that ripped through Joplin, Mo., last Sunday evening (May 22). The tornado killed hundreds and listed many more as "missing."
She said the family took shelter in their home's bottom floor bathtub. Luckily, their home is located three blocks away from the tornado's direct hit. The tornado's path wiped out 75 percent of the town including the town's post office and highway (Interstate 44).
The house that Shawn and his wife Corina Armstrong and their five kids (ages 7 to 13) withstood some damage, however, their landlord and FEMA are expected to take care of the repairs.
Another factor in their situation is that Shawn, a 1996 graduate of Indian Valley High School, has a form multiple sclerosis and cannot walk. He is on several medications, including two strong antibiotics for bacteria growth in his body. His wife is a cook at a local school, however, the school and school's administration office are completely gone. Her check should be sent to her because the records are stored electronically, but they don't know how long it will take to receive it.
Right now, the family is in need of money for food and medical supplies. Non-perishable food items cannot be sent because the highway system is closed, the post office is destroyed and UPS is unsure as to when they'll be able to deliver items.
At this time, the best way to help, according to Ambie, is to send money to her and she will send a money order to the family. Ambie's address is 130 Neighbor St., P.O. Box 713, Newcomerstown, OH 43832. To find out more, you can also call Ambie at (330) 365-0348.
Ambie said the family is trying to stay calm and help others. Even though Shawn is disabled, he is helping the Marines and Red Cross distribute food and water to those who lost everything in the tornado. She said her grandchildren are, of course, scared whenever they hear the sirens or learn of another storm approaching.
But, she said they have each other and they are all safe.
"I'm just trying to do what I can here," Ambie said.