Amidst the devastation of the Van, Texas Tornado, two inspiring stories emerged from one terrible tragedy.
The small town of Van, Texas is still reeling from the damage inflicted by a devastating tornado on the night of May 10. After relatives and emergency workers began shifting through the debris, two incredible stories came to light, both originating from the same family.
The Bible Gives a Message of Hope
In a field, behind the remains of the home of two of the tornado’s fatal victims, David and Brenda Tapley, a bible was found open, partially covered by dirt and wet from the weather. The page it was open to contained this verse:
“My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-5)
The Tapley’s were devout Methodists. David had served as a lay minister and a council chair for the United Methodist Church in Van, and Brenda had once worked as the church’s secretary.
The comfort found in the bible verse was not the only story the Tapley’s had left to tell, however.
The Miracle Dog
Initially, family and neighbors believed both the Tapley’s dogs had also died in the tornado, but when David’s body was discovered, his arm was encircling one of his dogs who was alive and well.
The dog is a Great Pyrenees, and seemed to be largely unharmed by the storm or the collapsed home in which she was found. She had some head trauma and bruising, and the veterinarian who examined her suggested she may have some inner-ear damage, since she seems to have some trouble keeping her balance.
A local nonprofit, Nicholas’ Pet Haven, was keeping many of the animals found after the catastrophic storm, and took in the Tapley’s dog as well. The dog was adopted by Michelle Shockley of nearby Tyler, Texas. At the suggestion of a behavioral psychologist who works with Nicholas’ Pet Haven, Shockley renamed the dog Emma.
Shockley is a lover of animals, working as a supervisor for a nearby zoo, and is sure to make a stable and loving home for Emma.