Stephanie Decker, of Marysville, Ind., lost parts of both legs while saving her children from a tornado. Image via ABC News.
As a tornado ravaged through her two-story house in Marysville, Ind., all Stephanie Decker could think about were her children.
The storm completely demolished her home and she lost parts of both her legs in the process of shielding her 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter from falling debris. But in many ways Decker, 37, is thankful – her family is safe.
“They needed me,” Decker told ABC News from her hospital bed in Louisville Ky. “So, I had to figure out what to do.”
When Decker saw a tornado headed straight for her home March 2, she immediately rushed her children into their walk-out basement. She covered herself and her children with a blanket while watching the tornado approach through a window.
“My daughter said, ‘Mommy, I don’t like this,’ and I said, ‘I know honey,’” Decker said in her bedside interview Monday. “I could see the wind. I could see the window blew out and the house burst.”
Both her legs were smashed by debris as the tornado ripped through their 15-acre property, but Decker continued to shield her children. She said she could feel one of her legs being severed and was worried about bleeding to death.
At that moment her son, Dominic, ran off to find help from neighbors. A deputy sheriff was fetched and Decker was taken to the hospital, where parts of both legs were amputated that night.
As reports of the incident surfaced on Monday, both Decker and Dominic got a hero’s response from the media, as the local community recovers from a series of 76 confirmed tornadoes that killed 39 people.
“I told her, ‘(Our children are) here because of you,’ ” her husband, Joe Decker told the Associated Press. “I let her know that nothing else matters. I said, ‘You’re going to be here for your kids, and you get to see them grow up.’ ”
Stephanie Decker was in serious but stable condition Monday, as she lost one leg above the knee and another above the ankle. The State Journal in Frankfort, Ky. reported today that doctors expect her to walk again in about three months.
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