Stories of Hope and Survival Rise from Storms' Debris

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It may be considered the worst tornado outbreak for the month of March on record -- 140 twisters reported, 76 confirmed on the ground, leaving 39 people dead.

However, in the midst of those killer storms, there are stories of faith and survival.

Cleanup for residents of tornado-pummeled towns in the Midwest and South remains challenging as snow has blanketed many crushed houses in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

"Like a one-two punch, right here in the middle of all this," said one survivor of the tornado that struck Salyersville, Ky.

"We lived through the tornado. We'll live through this snow," another survivor said, chuckling.

In Harrisburg, Ill., where CBN's Operation Blessing International teams are deployed, some residents discovered that picking up debris from the violent storm may help them heal.

"You want it to go away. You want to clean up," said one resident.

Pushing through the cleanup process is helping survivors cope, along with hearing stories of several miracles that happened during the storms.

In Dallas County, Mo., the Schleuning family survived after being tossed from their mobile home by a tornado. As the family recovers from its injuries, Cody Schleuning found something priceless.

"An engagement ring I gave my wife ten years ago," he said.

In Mecklenburg County, N.C., two members of one family survived after being thrown from their home.

"The top half of the house, when it came off, it took him with it and he was actually over the back fence here that separates the house from Highway 45," Clarence Gray explained.

The force of a tornado sucked out Gray's nephew and nieces from their beds, one landing near the interstate behind their house. They walked away with just some bumps and bruises.

Doctors from other floors came to their hospital room just to see them and gave them a special nickname.

"They looked at them, and they couldn't believe it," a reporter said. "They called them 'miracle babies.'"

"I'd rather see those injuries anytime of the day other than what could have happened. If God blesses you like this, this mess is nothing compared to having family," Gray said.

Charlotte Hall cried out to God for protection. She is still standing, along with her house, and talked about her faith with a reporter.

"Because I knew that it would work," she said.

In Henryville, Ind., a church is overflowing with donations. Clothes and food are piling up for people who have lost so much.

"We know everybody and when something happens, we all pull together," one resident said.

And yet another story of survival and a mother's love. Two children escaped injury when their mother shielded them with her body during a tornado in Marysville, Ind.

While she lost parts of both of her legs, her husband, who was at work, says he's thankful they are all alive.

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CBN News
Mark Martin

Mark Martin

CBN News Reporter

Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at