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Comfort in a Time of Terror

  • April 12, 2012

When a monstrous EF-5 tornado ripped through Smithville, MS in April 2011, the last thing Joyce and Frank Avery thought about were their prescription medications. In the aftermath, the Averys emerged from a storm shelter, made their way through the shattered town, and were able to salvage some personal belongings from their damaged home—including a small amount of Joyce’s blood pressure medicine.What would happen to Joyce when she ran out of pills?  Finding a way to refill the prescription might not have been easy: The twister had torn the roof off of Access Family Health Services – the safety-net clinic where the Averys received care, including medications. Fortunately, Joyce was able maintain her supply of medication and continue her treatment, thanks to an emergency shipment that the clinic received from AmeriCares, along with a grant to help Access continue serving patients in a temporary structure.“AmeriCares was first on the scene to assist our clinic with aid that saved us weeks in restoring medical services.  The medications and relief supplies were vitally important to those affected by the tornado,” said Marilyn Sumerford, Executive Director of Access Family Health Services. “I will always be an AmeriCares cheerleader. You have done the most by far for the people of Smithville.”

Smithville, MS Tornado emergency

Disasters like the Smithville tornado can be especially terrifying for people with limited health care options. The Averys are among the 10,000 uninsured and underinsured in the community who rely on Access Family Health Services. Joyce explained that after so much loss and stress, it was a relief to know that she had her medication and ongoing medical care. Now, a year later, AmeriCares has provided Access with a total of $57,000 for rebuilding and we continue to supply the clinic with free medicines and medical supplies.AmeriCares aid to the Access Family Clinic was just part of $3 million in emergency relief we delivered in response to U.S. disasters in 2011. Our support for storm survivors continues in 2012, as tornadoes once again ravage the Midwest and South.Read MoreDonate Now