Mother Nature Chases Region 8 Couple - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Marmaduke, AR -- Lauren Payne Reports

Mother Nature Chases Region 8 Couple

April 6, 2006 – Posted at 5:21 p.m. CST

MARMADUKE, AR -- There are literally hundreds of survival stories after Sunday's tornados. Each one different and certainly unique.

Joel Stallings and his wife moved to Marmaduke last year, leaving behind an area now scarred by Mother Nature.

“We lived on the Gulf Coast for forty years, down at Biloxi. We left down there last June, just before Katrina hit, and moved back up here,” said Stallings.

They narrowly escaped one natural disaster--but made it in time for another.

“This has been far worse than I have ever experienced. Even in the hurricanes we were never in the path of a tornado like as many as there are with hurricanes. We just never did get hit by the tornados,” said Stallings.

But their luck ran out on Sunday as they found themselves right in the path of destruction. As the tornado quickly approached, the Stallings found refuge underneath a staircase in the interior of their home.

“A few minutes later.....everything just broke loose,” said Stallings, “When you look and see what was left and realize you were in the middle of it. Somebody was taking care of us.”

As the couple emerged from their safe haven after the storm they saw their neighborhood destroyed. But there was an overwhelming sense of relief. As cleanup continues, there are a number of decisions to be made, but at least one decision is pretty easy.

“We're not going to the Gulf Coast. That we won't do. We will be in this area somewhere,” said Stallings.

Just like hundreds of others the Stallings will now start over, and there's a lot to be done. But if hurricanes and even a tornado doesn't stop this couple, not much will.

The only injury to Stallings was after the tornado...he got one cut on his arm while he was cleaning up.

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