This story submitted by Jessica Cloud.
I live close to campus in the North Avenues neighborhood along Pearl Street. I like being close because it is so convenient to the USM Foundation offices. My husband is an EMT in Greene County and was working when the tornado hit our neighborhood. I was lucky enough to sense the pressure change and get my daughter into the center hall just in time. We are also lucky to have been renting our house and suffered little damage to personal belongings besides vehicles.
A few days after the storm, the Southern Miss women’s soccer team showed up at my house while my husband was trying to clean up the yard. They helped him make a good deal of progress on our exterior cleanup. I cannot thank them enough. At that point, we were both still very much in shock and did not know what to do first. It’s funny that they were the Southern Miss women’s soccer team because my 3-year-old wants to play soccer next year; the morning before the storm she was showing her grandparents (visiting from Maryland) how well she could kick in our front yard just as it began to rain.
I also have many co-workers I should thank. Meg Jones brought me cleaning supplies. Nichelle Cole helped me watch my daughter when her school was still closed. Samantha Walker, a student worker at the Foundation, watched my daughter this weekend so that my husband and I could continue clean up. The biggest thanks goes to Dawn Higdon and her family for giving my family a place to stay while we figure out the next steps. She drove to the area to find her son, who is a student, and refused to leave Sunday night without picking up my daughter and me. This freed my husband to stay in the Avenues and help clear the roads all night with my neighbors, rescuing a woman with a two-month-old child and an elderly neighbor on oxygen. So many people in the Southern Miss family have made offers of support and given us words of encouragement. I cannot thank them enough! Southern Miss to the Top!!