Ethan Herndon is survived by his wife and two children who have "all required surgery and will all require much more care and a long road to recovery," the fundraiser stated.
Trigger Warning: This article contains details of death and destruction due to natural disaster that may be distressing to readers.
A Mississippi family is mourning the loss of Ethan Herndon, 33, and his 1-year-old daughter Riley, who died after a tornado "destroyed their home". The family lived near the small community of Wren for generations, so long that their street is named for them. According to The New York Times, after the tornado hit on Friday, March 24, Ethan’s father, who lived down the street, discovered their bodies in the wreckage of their mobile home. Riley is believed to be one of the youngest victims of the deadly storm and was just a month away from her second birthday. Her siblings Brantley Herndon, 7, and Aubrey Herndon, 4, were also severely injured in Friday’s storm.
Ethan's wife Elizabeth "suffered multiple injuries including a broken arm and leg as well as a dislocated hip," a family member stated. "Brantley, the oldest child was airlifted to LeBonheur Hospital immediately with multiple broken bones, a lacerated liver, and a punctured lung," the family member shared. Their 4-year-old, Aubrey, was hospitalized with "multiple lacerations, a broken elbow, and a possible broken ankle."
"This sweet family is physically and emotionally shattered. They have suffered the most painful and terrifying loss any of us can imagine, and their needs are obvious and great," reads a message on the family's GoFundMe, which has raised over $146,926 at the time of this publication.
In a recent update, Walter Edington, an organizer of the fundraiser revealed that the surviving members have "all required surgery and will all require much more care and a long road to recovery, but all are expected to eventually make a full recovery. Your generosity will make the burdens they will bear in the coming days a little bit easier. Your love for this family is felt and appreciated."
According to PEOPLE, on March 27, MSEMA said that there was a "moderate" risk of severe weather in central Mississippi and throughout southern parts of the state. Governor Tate Reeves tweeted, "Please take caution, check weather alerts, and keep your families safe. We're monitoring the situation and have emergency management prepared to respond as necessary." In another tweet, he added, "The Department of Mental Health has deployed the Region 6 Mobile Crisis Response Team to respond to the community, bring supplies, and help respond to mental health needs." So far it has been reported that at least 25 people were killed across the state, with another death reported in Alabama.
Respond. Recover. Rebuild together.— Governor Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) March 27, 2023
That is our mission in all the communities impacted by this devastating tornado.
We will be here for the long haul. pic.twitter.com/Zv9f2EIpLr
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe