On April 27, 2011, I huddled in a hallway with my son as an EF4 tornado passed within a half-mile of us. At the first sound of wood cracking, my plan was to throw myself on top of him, shielding him from whatever the wind unleashed.
Ninety miles away in Smithville, Mississippi, another mother stood in front of what was left of her house.
Patty Parker had chased the mile-wide EF5 tornado from nearby Amory, where she was the executive director of United Way, to Smithville. When live power lines and debris made driving impossible, she abandoned her car and ran toward home in high heels.