Another tale of man vs. nature and man wins—with a lot of help from their fellow man—is the subject of this week’s Feel-Good Friday. 

It’s also an homage to those crazy storm chasers. One of the hard decisions about moving to Alabama was the fact that the state experiences tornadoes. While I survived the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, in my 35 years of living in California, that was the worst earthquake I had ever experienced. Most of the time, I either drove through them or slept through them. You cannot do that with a tornado. So, the concept of being in a position where I would have to outrace a storm or find a shelter in time is kind of nerve-wracking. Watching a tornado on television or video is one thing, finding yourself right in the midst of a maelstrom is quite another. The Lambert family found themselves in just that situation, and had it not been for the quick thinking and bravery of storm chaser Freddy McKinney, they may well have all been dead. 

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This violent twister ripped through Hawley, Texas.

Shocking footage of a storm chaser rescuing a family of four after their Texas home was destroyed by a tornado has been circulating widely on social media.

In the roughly one-minute long clip filmed from inside a car on May 2, storm chaser Freddy McKinney is following the tornado and says he is worried it might have hit a house, before changing course to check. Seconds later he can be heard saying, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. There’s people, there’s people.”

He pulls his vehicle over and tells the people to get in. The distressed group can be seen running through rain and high winds towards him, trailed by a small dog, as the tornado rages in the distance.

“Help us, please. Please God help. Hurry,” a woman says. She is carrying a child in her arms. Behind them is another child, who looks to be injured, and a man, seen limping.

McKinney yells at them to load into the car. The family of four and the dog quickly pile in. One of the children is so traumatized that they are screaming. The mom, Kasey Lambert, asked to use McKinney’s phone to call her mother. McKinney makes a call to inform law enforcement that he has picked up a family and is transporting them to the hospital.

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Wes, Kasey, Lane, and Allie had their injuries attended to at the hospital, and save for the dog, they literally survived with just the clothes on their back. Bradye Lynn McQueen, the Lamberts’ cousin, took to X to post an update on the family, and to thank Freddy McKinney for his heroic act.

Storm chasers are a fascinating blend of geek and daredevil. They work to get into the eye of a storm in order to learn more about the phenomenon. This deeper understanding of storms, how they form, move, and increase in strength or dissipate suddenly, allows the storm chasers to develop methods to predict a storm’s formation and character, with the hope of providing earlier warning and better mitigation against damage and loss of life. That is the goal for many of them. Others just think it’s “hella” cool to do! Whatever the reason, I am thankful for whatever they might discover that could help someone either take proper cover or get away in time. No doubt the Lamberts are grateful that Freddy McKinney was chasing that particular storm at that particular time.

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Bradye McQueen set up a GoFundMe for her cousins. Here is the link if you are inclined to contribute.