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. Putyourcontactsin

    Agree! Glad someone could stay on point! People are making a lot of judgements on this young woman. Apparently it's true that criticizing others does wonders for the ego. For all we know she could be a wonderful mom and person in general, despite any other shortcomings she may have. She obviously cares about her kid.

    May 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. miscn

    Wow! What a lot of hateful comments! I'm glad that she and her baby are OK.

    May 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Danielle

    I've read the comments below... I feel so disgraced. As a "northern Southerner", I too have often scoffed at the mannerisms and grammar of those from the deep south.

    I feel disgraced that even 33 Americans, however ignorant they are, could mock this tragedy. This woman is a young mother, and it is the eve of Mother's Day. Have some pity, and realize that this could be any one of us- whether it be a tornado, a flood, a hurricane, or an earthquake.

    To this young, brave mother, my heart and my prayers go out to you. I hope you celebrate yourself on the day that is meant to honor you as someone who, even before motherhood, struggled through the physical and emotional hardships to bring your child into this world.

    May 7, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • brian

      Ummmmmm what is a northern southerner ?

      May 8, 2011 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. Rita

    I wonder how many people that lost everything and have to start from scratch CNN had to drive past to get to this race-baiting story.

    May 7, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. greg

    how could you call black people apes,your a racist hoe then.

    May 7, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. FBI Secret Agent Mclovin

    testing 1 2 3

    May 7, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Reena

    It's your right not to like people or certain situations...but I truly pray that you are not spreading your hate onto young children....I believe that because the negative mindsets of many adults, that this world will continue to decline.

    May 7, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. LadyBuggg

    Wow...I agree with JSD. You guys (folks leaving nasty comments) know nothing about this young lady and yet you are so quick to imagine the worst about her. Why because she is a young mother? From Alabama?

    You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    May 7, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BrassTacks

    Shut it Leroy with your stupid drivel..

    May 7, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Putyourcontactsin

    You can have tons of money, the best education money can buy, know all the right people, and STILL be trash/a blight on society. Keep that in mind. Good luck to this young woman. I hope she picks up the pieces, makes good decisions, learns from any mistakes, and does right by her beautiful son.

    May 7, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BunnyLynn

    Where's Maury Povich?

    May 7, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Stephanie

    I don't know, how good can you look when you are living in a shelter? Also with an 8-week old soon to be 9 week old most people don't worry about their looks as much. I think it's really positive that she keeps the baby's father in her son's life.

    May 7, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Greg

    Is that Gwyneth Paltrow ?

    May 7, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jerry_sheng

    for the great mother ,the moment deserve treasure

    May 7, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JWG

    Looks like the baby is eying lunch.

    May 7, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
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