Michelle Mock was making herself a cup of tea after a thunderstorm cleared on June 20. She had just commented to her daughter, Paisley Horton, how picturesque the sky had become in lieu of the recent storm before all hell broke loose.
Mock was on the phone with her mother when the phone started beeping with an emergency tornado warning. She turned toward the front of her Holly Grove home and saw the once airbrushed sky had turned a foreboding black in mere minutes.
“I looked at Paisley and her face was five shades of white,” Mock said. “I looked outside to see what she was looking at and it was black.”
Benjamin Scott, Mock’s grandson, was upstairs watching television—the last place she wanted him to be in a tornado.
Mock ran up the stairs to get her two-year-old grandchild and instructed her 10-year-old daughter to stay downstairs.
“By the time I grabbed Benjamin off the bed upstairs and got back to the bedroom door, she was screeching like bloody murder and [Paisley’s] room was collapsing.”
With babe in arm, Mock made her way back down the stairs only to find a wall starting to come down on Paisley, who was laying at the foot of the stairs.
Mock stopped, told her daughter to crawl toward her and the three of them huddled together. Mock shielded the little ones from harm while she figured out what to do next.
“You only have seconds to try to process it all and figure out what do to,” Mock said. “I knew enough not to go back upstairs, so we took off back through it all to the kitchen.”
The kitchen is situated in the back of the 150-year-old house. For a moment, the thought to run to the neighbor’s house for cover crossed Mock’s mind, but due to the wicked elements and another large oak twisting in the wind, the family stayed in the house.
The high winds and storm conditions distorted Mock’s voice so much so that 911 dispatchers could not understand her.
“They kept asking me for my address,” Mock said. “After the tenth time, I kind of surrendered to the idea that people we love very well may be pulling debris off of us.”
“So, I laid the kids down and got on top of them and prayed—let the little people get out. They have a long journey to go,” Mock said. “The next thing I know, the fire department is here.”
Mock’s mother was on the phone when the storm hit and she had contacted 911 on behalf of her daughter.
To read the entire story, see the July 2 edition of The Central Virginian.