Amy Hawkins was on the phone with her husband, Jerrod, when he says she abruptly cut him off, saying, "I know it's here. Got to go. Bye." Fearing a severe storm that could produce tornados, Amy hurried her two young sons, Jair and Cole, down to the northeast corner of the basement. As a twister approached, the sound grew deafening. "It just sounded like a big train coming our way," Jair says.
When the tornado hit the house, Amy laid on top of Jair and Cole to protect them. Neighbors and rescue workers later arrived to find the house completely leveled. They found the three covered in a pile of fallen bricks. While Jair and Cole suffered just minor injuries, Amy's back had been broken and today she is paralyzed from the waist down.
Had Amy not covered her children, rescue workers say they likely would have died. "My mom saved me and my brother's lives, and she is the biggest hero that I know," Jair says.
Amy says she didn't necessarily think or worry in that moment about saving her children. Instead, her "motherly instincts" kicked in. "I didn't have time to be afraid," she says. "I just had to do what I needed to do."