Great-Grandmother Shields Toddler From Devastating Tornado

Calhoun, GA – Zane McFarland, 2, is recovering from injuries he sustained when a tornado ripped through his Gordon County home Wednesday morning. Zane underwent surgery at Chattanooga’s Erlanger Hospital and is in a body cast for a broken femur. His great-grandmother, 80-year-old Betty Stewart, was also hurt in the chaos and too required surgery.

Zane is alive today due to the selfless protective efforts of his great-grandmother. She endured the assault of a tornado and shielded the toddler with her own body even as the home they were in was being demolished around them.

The boy’s parents were away at the time, his father working in Atlanta and his mother attending school.

Betty agreed to watch over the boy that morning. WSBTV reports how the octogenarian wrapped Zane in a quilt and laid over him as the tornado swept through. It launched the home from the foundation, destroying it against nearby trees. The woman and child were found several yards from the wreckage, Betty still clinging to her great-grandson.

Betty does not remember much of the ordeal, only that she assured the boy she would not let him go, and recalled being found near the roadside after. Black and blue, Betty broke her back in two places, has a broken femur, a little bleeding on the brain, and the skin is gone from one of her hand’s to the elbow. She underwent surgery at Erlanger Hospital. The family is eager to have her back home as soon as possible.

Both Gordon and Bartow counties were declared a state of emergency by Governor Nathan Deal. Several injuries, deaths, and multiple homes were damaged by the natural disaster. The state insurance commissioner estimates the damage losses at $75 million.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]