The Tsangaris Family

By: Danielle Eickenhorst, Content Specialist, Midland Division
 
The Tsangaris family was on the way home from their daughter Jeane’s graduation on May 22nd, trying to get home before the weather became

Valletta & Jeane Tsangaris, and their service dog Athena, get breakfast at the Salvation Army canteen near their home.

too dangerous. As their daughter Jeane, and her autism service dog had crossed the stage earlier that night at her high school graduation, tornado sirens had sounded, and as the festivities ended, families and friends dispersed for their homes, to take shelter.

 
As the family drove home, they noticed the weather take a sharp turn for the worse. As they drove down 20th Street, winds picked up and debris began to fly. John Tsangaris and his family pulled into a bank drive-thru in order to find shelter from the storm. As they found their way to shelter, prepared to ride out the storm in their car, their windows shattered and their service dog Athena laid on top of Jeane in order that it might protect her.  
 
As the storm raged on, a woman’s body slammed into their car, a vision that Valletta Tsangaris says still keeps her up at night. The Tsangaris family covered their heads and rode out the storm, and when it passed, they found that the bank had collapsed around them. Valletta suffered a compound arm fracture, and was turned away from local hospitals due to the quantity and severity of other injuries.
 
Valletta and her family made it to the 20th & South Main canteen area, where they connected with food and other resources, and a nurse named Alma Hudson, who had set up a makeshift triage unit in cooperation with The Salvation Army. 
 
“She splinted my arm and helped me get to Kansas, where they operated on my arm,” said Valletta.
 
The family’s house is badly damaged from the storm, but they are more fortunate than many. As they wait for utilites to be restored, they are daily visitors to The Salvation Army canteen at 20th & Main, which has become a central hub for many relief agencies and churches, and intend to stay involved with The Salvation Army for years to come. “It’s so nice to just have a cup of coffee and a place we know we can get some food,” remarks Valletta.
 
“This is our first experience receiving aid from The Salvation Army,” said Valletta. “My husband researched the organization, and we appreciate that so much of the money donated goes directly to the people who need it. When we are back on our feet, we intend to make a donation or get involved in some way.” 
 
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