Tornado Victim Helped by Employee Assistance Program

On the night of May 27, 2019, Renea Crawford and her 14-year-old daughter were driving home from a Memorial Day picnic at Renea’s grandmother’s house. Her van’s gas light came on. Renea, a nurse informaticist at Premier Health Center, was eager to get home. The celebration had gone later than they’d expected. She was annoyed as she pulled into the gas station and began to pump her gas.

“That’s when the sirens went off,” Renea says. A stranger standing nearby called over to her. “He said that he’d gotten a notification on his phone that a tornado had touched down in the area.” Nervous, Renea got in her car and checked her phone to see she’d gotten the same message.

She sped back to her grandmother’s house, terrified. They barely made it inside when the storm passed overhead. “It sounded like somebody was stomping on the roof,” Renea recalls. The three took shelter in a bathroom. Renea’s daughter took cover in the bathtub, while Renea and her grandmother pushed against the bathroom door, which the violent winds threatened to tear open.

When the storm passed, Renea found that her vehicle’s windows had been blown out and her tires had been badly damaged. She returned home to discover that she’d lost some siding on her house and a portion of fence. The power was out. During the six days that Renea’s family was without electricity, their food spoiled. Renea’s son suffers from severe food allergies and has to eat a special diet of expensive food, all of which went bad.

A bright spot during this awful time was Premier Health’s Employee Assistance Plan. “Premier was able to help us out,” Renea says. “They provided me with Kroger gift cards that I was able to use to replace a lot of my son’s food that we lost.” Renea’s supervisor and co-workers also got together and collected money so that Renea could get her vehicle and house fixed. She was able to receive a “time off accommodation,” so she didn’t have to use her own TOP in the aftermath of the storm.

“We couldn’t stay in our home until FEMA said it was safe,” Renea says. “Premier and my co-workers helped make us as comfortable as possible while we were out of our house.”

Back to the November 2019 issue of the Nursing Newsletter