"My first thought was ... for my mother, because she lived right next to the hospital," said Thomas, senior pastor at Woodland Heights Christian Church in Crawfordsville.
"I had no clue on earth what was going on. I could see the hospital on TV, but there was nothing around it."
That image set in motion a chain of events that led to Thomas driving 514 miles from Crawfordsville to Joplin to search for his mother, 82-year-old Alice Lindsey. Because he had no information about Lindsey's whereabouts, Thomas said he and his family feared the worst.
A victim of late-stage Alzheimer's, Lindsey cannot speak, see or walk, her son said. That led family members to fear she was particularly vulnerable to the tornado's destruction -- especially because Greenbriar, Lindsey's nursing home, was flattened in the storm.
Eventually, the family found out that Alice Lindsey survived the tornado and was sent to a nearby nursing facility. But for two days, Thomas and his family did not know whether their mother was alive or dead.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Pastor finds his mother, lost in Joplin tornado
An Indiana newspaper recounts the story of a pastor's search for his Alzheimer's-afflicted mother following the May 22 Joplin tornado: