He is a real-life hero!
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on March 11, 2022. It has since been updated.
When a violent tornado, which had wind speeds measuring between 136 miles per hour and 165 miles per hour, swept through Madison County on the weekend, 64-year-old Rodney Clark and his wife Judy hid in a bathtub, according to Cleavland19.
The force of the tornado threw the couple 100 feet before the tub they were in landed in a pile of debris, but according to family members, Clark, who did not survive the impact, placed himself on top of his wife—and mother of three—in an attempt to shield her from the storm.
"He laid on top of her and held her close and pretty much saved her life," Jase Brumfild, Clark's grandson said. "I just knew that that was him. That was something that he would definitely do."
"They were inseparable," said Rhys Pate, Clark's son-in-law. "So I think [Judy] is just having a hard time processing how she was the 'lucky one.'"
Rodney Clark’s family says he died a hero. He laid on his wife, Judy, in the bathtub of their Madison County home. When the tornado hit, she survived.— Dan Winters (@danwinters) March 7, 2022
According to PEOPLE, the pair live in the home that had been destroyed by the tornado for over two decades and enjoyed dancing and riding horses together, loved ones said. Family member Jacob Burriola created a GoFundMe to help Judy recover and rebuild a life for herself from scratch, without her husband by her side.
'In last nights tornado, my daughters grandpa tragically lost his life. When the tornado came through Winterset, it came right at their house. Rod Clark put his wife in their tub, and threw himself on top of her, sacrificing his life to save hers. HE IS A REAL LIFE HERO! I’m starting this fund so his wife Judy can put this to use to help their family however she sees fit in this horrible time. Please take some time and give to this family and show your support for this hero!" the fundraiser's description read.
Unfortunately, Clark is not the only one who lost his life due to the tornado.
When I first heard of this story from this past weekend ... #hero comes to mind. These #Iowans did the right thing during the approach of an #EF4 #tornado this past weekend and in the process, Rodney Clark died saving his wife by protecting her. https://t.co/zfKkM52LKQ— Chad Franzen WSAW (@Chad_WSAW) March 10, 2022
Along with Clark, six others died in the storm, including four members of a single family: Melissa Bazley, 63, her son-in-law, 37-year-old Michael Bolger, and two of his children, Kinlee Bolger, 5, and Owen Bolger, 2.
Cecilia Lloyd, 72, and Jesse Theron Fisher, 40, were also among the dead. However, Fisher is said to have died in a separate tornado that hit Lucas County. The tornado that hit Madison County is said to be Iowa's deadliest since 2008 when eight people died in Parkersburg and New Hartford, the Des Moines Register reported.
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe | Real life hero