Marysville mom recuperating after losing legs while sheltering kids from tornado PDF Print E-mail

A parent's love is as strong, if not stronger, than a tornado.



Stephanie Decker, 36, of Marysville, is recuperating at University of Louisville Hospital after weekend surgery that removed one leg completely and the other above the knee.

The house which she and husband Joe had built collapsed into the basement where she and her children, eight-year-old Dominic and five-year-old Reese, were sheltering from the EF4 category tornado. Her husband had warned her by cell phone text that the vicious storm was headed straight for the couple's "dream house," a three-story brick-and-stone structure on Friday afternoon, March 2. Joe Decker was at his job at Silver Creek High School when he saw radar reports that indicated his family was in danger.

Stephanie had raced home and taken the little boy and girl into the basement minutes before the tornado hit the house, demolishing it in short order. The woman told her husband later that she saw a huge piece of debris, part of an arched stone entryway, headed straight for little Reese. She pulled the five-year-old out of the way but remembers nothing more.

In the hail storm that followed, Dominic somehow got out of the basement and screamed for help. Neighbors and others came running, Clark County Deputy Brian Lovins among them. He applied makeshift tourniquets to both legs to prevent Stephanie from bleeding to death. Men helped the injured woman into the deputy's car, and he drove off, luckily finding an ambulance and crew. She was transported by that vehicle to Clark Memorial Hospital in Jeffersonville and then later transferred to U of L's trauma care center.

Joe Decker credits the quick actions of Deputy Lovins and those of neighbors Chris Troncin and Russ Smallwood with saving his wife's life.

Stephanie was on a ventilator and unable to speak strongly enough to be understood, so she told the horrific tale by typing on an iPad as she lay in her hospital bed.

The couple's children are uninjured, thanks to their mom.