Alabama storm victim to spend first Mother's Day in shelter
Leicia Fairchild and her son, Christian, survived last week's devastating storms in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
May 7th, 2011
09:07 PM ET

Alabama storm victim to spend first Mother's Day in shelter

Leicia Fairchild had only one thing on her mind as a tornado ripped apart her home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, last week.

"My son, my son, I got to get to my son," Fairchild recalls.

Fairchild was relieved to find her 8-week-old son, Christian, unharmed in her mother's home down the hill. But her elation has turned into despair as she gets ready to spend her first Mother's Day in a shelter with more than 200 others displaced by last week's devastating storms.

"I pictured Mother's Day at home with his father, and happy and everything, and it's far from happy. I’m in a shelter with my son," she said.

The American Red Cross set up the shelter just a few miles outside Tuscaloosa, where a massive tornado cut a 5.9-mile-long path of destruction last week. More than 5,700 structures were damaged and destroyed, affecting an estimated 13,700 people, a mayoral spokeswoman said. The city has held off on releasing an official count of the dead, but CNN last reported the death toll at 50.

Ground zero in Tuscaloosa: Horror and hope, tears and prayers

Fairchild was sitting at home with the father of her baby when she heard a loud noise and looked out the window and saw a tornado heading for her house.

"We ran and just dove under the sink and the whole house lifted up and started to go with the wind, and we were just praying to God the whole time and all I could think about was my baby,” Fairchild said Saturday as she sat in the shelter's cafeteria.

Before the storm had ended, she was running down the hill to see if her mother's home was still there.

"They pulled nails out of my feet where I had to run through my house. We had to climb over a huge tree that landed on our house that was blocking the door, and I had to climb over that tree. I was determined to get to my son."

The child was unharmed. Fairchild's mother and the boy's father also survived, but their homes were destroyed.

Fairchild hopes to leave the shelter soon and move into an apartment. Her first Mother's Day wasn’t supposed to be like this.

"He's a blessing. I get to tell him he lived through a tornado at 8 weeks old."

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Filed under: Alabama • Tornadoes • Weather
soundoff (371 Responses)
  1. gwats


    May 8, 2011 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. willow

    Leicia...I am so sorry for what has happened to your home, but I hope you will be able to find a way to have a little joy in your first Mother's Day! Your son is beautiful and I am glad you are all safe and unharmed. God Bless!

    May 8, 2011 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
    • LookinForAngels

      There's a project going on where people all over the world are making vids wishing her a happy mother's day and uploading them to CNN's iReport... interested in helping out?

      May 8, 2011 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. Putyourcontactsin

    Did we read the same article? I clearly remember it stating that she was with her baby's father. And most likely, she is in a woman's shelter, where her male partner would not be able to stay.

    May 8, 2011 at 3:04 am | Report abuse |
  4. Car316


    May 8, 2011 at 3:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      I just wish she would tell her story exactly one year from now.. What the government gives to these folks is amazing.. I did the taxes for several that had a hurricane hit their place.. Believe me, once the cash flows, we won't hear one more word of despair... And it flows quire freely !

      May 8, 2011 at 3:47 am | Report abuse |
    • cnn

      yeah right, you did a few peoples taxes.. you have the inside track.. Glen Beck and Fox should hire you immediately..

      May 8, 2011 at 4:30 am | Report abuse |
  5. CB

    I just hope that the mother will really take a good look at her blessings. Other people did not make it that day, they are dead and gone. She still has her life and her child. God spared her that day. Being in a shelter on mother's day after living through all that is a blessing.

    May 8, 2011 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Emmanuel Goldman

      CB: Come on, buddy. We ALL know that she was saved by the Flying Spaghetti Monster! I don't know who this 'god' guy is, but it is very disrespectful to not give FSM His credit when HE deserves it. If you don't straighten up and start doing the Hokey Pokey each night (part of the worship to the FSM), and sacrificing a rubber chicken, then Flying Spaghetti Monster will smite you and turn you in to......A LIBERAL DEMOCRAT!!!!! ARRRGHHHHH!!

      May 8, 2011 at 3:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. LookinForAngels

    There's a project going on where people all over the world are making vids wishing her a happy mother's day and uploading them to CNN's iReport... PLEASE consider joining us in making this a better day for her.

    I know some of you think it's better to make fun of her and tell her she's an idiot, but you know what? Fools say mean things, the wise spread a lil joy.
    So do something nice, instead of complaining because CNN wrote an article on her. And GET OVER YOURSELVES!

    May 8, 2011 at 3:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. Susan Skinner

    Leicia – this will be one of your best Mother's Days – you, your boyfriend and your beautiful child survived and your love for your little boy shines through. It doesn't get much better. God Bless!

    May 8, 2011 at 3:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. D

    How old is this girl anyways??? Looks like a rerun of 16 and pregnant...

    May 8, 2011 at 3:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. Fedup

    I couldn't agree with you more...

    May 8, 2011 at 4:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. HSC

    It's odd that people call her trash... Her house was destroyed. Her belongings are gone, including her clothes and any cosmetic items... Are you expecting her to look like a beauty queen at this point in time?? Really, people, how do you want her to look right now? Should we dress her a certain way with the clothes that have been destroyed, or have her child all white instead of interracial to keep you backwoods folk more at ease? It's a woman trying to survive with her young son!! Give the woman a break!

    May 8, 2011 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. American Rebel

    Happy Mothers Day! 🙂

    May 8, 2011 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
  12. Michael


    May 8, 2011 at 4:14 am | Report abuse |
  13. cnn

    so funny to hear the racist idiots sound off when there's a catastrophe at hand.. yeah jealous she would never sleep with you??

    May 8, 2011 at 4:20 am | Report abuse |
    • George

      why would anyone even want to sleep with an ugly white trash girl who's probably been plowed by dozens of black men and is probably a walking STD?

      May 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • duh


      May 9, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jack


    Sorry you have to spend your first Mothers Day in a shelter. Please ignore these people, they are rude and are no better than men hiding behind sheets burning crosses. They would never say those things to your face because they are cowards. Good luck in all you do.

    May 8, 2011 at 4:25 am | Report abuse |
  15. D

    The liberals have come out in typical attire tonight: Disgusting slobs boozed up with malt liquor, swearing at authorities, raping toddlers, and abusing the elderly.

    Welcome to 'change' America!

    May 8, 2011 at 4:35 am | Report abuse |
    • cnn

      get back in your cave and stay there..

      May 8, 2011 at 4:47 am | Report abuse |
    • opus512

      What are you, stupid?

      May 8, 2011 at 5:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Ted Linguini

      You've got more issues than the Christian Science Monitor magazine.

      May 8, 2011 at 5:32 am | Report abuse |
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