Pastor remembers helping Walmart victims after tornado - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Pastor remembers helping Walmart victims after tornado

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Pastor Tammy Hayes was working at a Sears across the street from Walmart the day the tornado hit, one of the first people to the scene to help.              

She carried everything she could from Sears that might help save people tangled underneath the crumbled store. 

"He said you go through these shelves," Hayes remembered her manager yelling. "You get towels, you get blankets, you get pillows – whatever you need. You take it over there!"

Hayes said the scene was like being at war, that she remembered crawling through the webs of debris to look for people.

"If there was nothing, we would put an orange flag up," said Hayes. "We were spreading out the quilts and the sheets, ripping up the sheets to use as bandages."

She says the sounds she remembers from those moments still haunt her.  

"Oh my God! Oh my God!" Hayes remembered hearing. "You know? You would hear moaning. You would hear crying. You would hear people screaming that couldn't find their mother or couldn't find their kids…or where's my husband?"

Hayes said she just prayed that it wasn't as bad as it looked. One moment still stands out from that day- the memory of an injured mother screaming that she couldn't find her children.

Hayes said she told the mother she would help: "I said, well you sit here and wait for me to come back. I'm gonna find your kids. I crawled up and down the toy department thinking if there's kids in here, they're going to be in the toys."

And she said somehow, she found them.

"I just started balling from the beginning," said Hayes. "They came out and they were just all dusty and just hair- debris just all in their hair. I picked em up and I said are these yours? She was just so happy that she had gotten her kids."

Pastor Tammy Hayes also says she remembers that everyone came together that day. That the way this community reacted was really admirable- completely focused on saving lives.

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