Photo by Karin Tallent
A tornado near Delray Plants on Old State Road 8 Sunday afternoon.
published: Monday, June 25, 2012
Heroic mother dies in tornado
By ED BALDRIDGE
VENUS — She is being called a hero by friends, family and emergency workers.
Heather Town, 32, was killed Sunday night after a tornado swept her home away. She was holding her 3-year-old daughter at the time.
“She never let go of her little one even in death,” said Highlands County Sheriff Susan Benton.
According to a press release from HCSO’s Nell Hays, Town died was thrown over 200 feet into a wooded area when the tornado destroyed her home at 220 Montana Trail.
Hays reported that immediately after the tornado, neighbor Shane Penrod heard a child crying.
Penrod and Jason Knapek, another neighbor, searched the woods and found the victim cradling her daughter.
A third neighbor, Emily Troup, joined the rescue effort and made the 911 call.
Penrod reportedly took the child from the mother and gave her to Knapek who carried her out of the woods and to his truck to wait for EMS.
Shortly after the storm, deputy Jorge Martinez arrived on the scene to find Town’s neighbors assisting her and her child.
Penrod and Troup stayed with the mother until EMS arrived, Hays said.
“This mother was found after this horrific natural disaster with her baby sheltered in her arms. What more can a parent sacrifice for their baby? That was heroic,” Benton said Monday morning.
The child was later driven to All Children’s Hospital in Tampa in serious condition, but is now is now reported to be stable, according to Hays.
Town reportedly had three children, but the others were not at home during the storm.
Hays said the debris field from this tornado extended over several miles from the Montana Trail home.
Property damage was also sustained in the Lake June, Twin Lakes, Cloverleaf and Lorida areas.
“Numerous homes suffered structural damage from the storm and trees and power lines were downed throughout the area however we are not aware of any further injuries. Complete electrical service has been restored to all the storm damaged areas at this time,” Hays said.
A trust fund has been set up to help the family. The "Town Children Account" is at TD Bank. The account number is 4265072739. Call the bank at 471-1553 for details.
Hero (by: Sara Estey Yates - 6/27/2012)
I never met her but I know she was an awsome mother for her sacrfice. I am her oldest daughter's cousin. Its sad that she has lost both of her parents (her father passed away from cancer 3 yrs ago) My prayers and thoughts go out to her and your 2 little sisters and the rest of the family hope the youngest that got hurt makes a complete recovery.
hero (by: tammy - 6/26/2012)
Every time I read this story it breaks my heart. That baby was so so very lucky to have such a great mom. I hate to hear this happen my heart goes out to all her family and friends.
Donations (by: Julie - 6/26/2012)
I am aware of donation boxes that are being placed around the county. There is boxes at both Wells Insurance Office's in Sebring & Lake Placid. There is a list floating around of ages and sizes of clothing the girls need. Once I gather it, I will be glad to post it. Also, I heard there is accounts set up at TD Bank for the Town Children. Surely someone will post more details. I will get with the girl I know and forward what I can.
Support for children (by: Erika Froling - 6/25/2012)
Is there any way to send help to the children of the hero mother. They lost everything. Could the news please let the community know how or where to help the Town family.
Heather Town (by: Rachel Quetot - 6/25/2012)
Is there a fund being set up for her family? This is someone that deserves to be celebrated.
Heather Town (by: Melinda Brege Byrd - 6/25/2012)
Heather was one of my best friends!!! She never met a stranger. She was an AMAZING mother. She ALWAYS put her girls first!!! She will be greatly missed.
Heroic Mother (by: Paul McGehee - 6/25/2012)
This woman is, without question, a hero! She sacrificed her life in an effort to protect her child. It is chilling to contemplate the fear she must have been feeling, but warms my heart to imagine her grit and determination in placing herself between a tornado and her baby! R.I.P. ma'am, your friends, family and community should be very proud of you!
venus (by: friend - 6/25/2012)
i don't know this landy but in my book she is my hero
(by: SYLVIA MOORE - 6/25/2012)
MY PRAYERS GO OUT TO THIS FAMILY.
tornado (by: Chris - 6/25/2012)
I was in the same area, I have a picture of the Tornado as it was forming by Del Ray Plants... I would love to post. Very scary to round the corner and see it developing in the field to the right of me, I could feel the pressure of the wind and I high tailed it out of there... I could not get phone reception either...
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