VENUS, Fla. - Tropical depression Debby has exited Florida toward the Atlantic Ocean, leaving three dead and one missing.
The storm would have claimed more, had it not been for the bravery of Heather Town.
According to reports from the Daily Ridge (Davenport, Fla.), Town was thrown 200 feet when a tornado hit her home Sunday afternoon as a result of the tropical storm. As she was thrown, she was holding onto her child, whom she grasped firmly until her dying breath.
Shortly after the storm passed, a neighbor, Shane Penrod, heard a child crying in the woods located adjacent to Town's home. He and Jason Knapek, another neighbor, searched the woods, where they found Town clutching tightly to her child.
Neighbor Emily Troup alerted 911 of the emergency and Penrod and Knapek brought the injured, but living child, out of the woods where they waited for emergency medical services to arrive.
Town later died from her wounds, however due to her bravery exercised in her final hour, her child survived and has recently been upgraded from critical to stable condition.
Though Town lived in Venus, Fla., she has grandparents who live in Jamestown. Amidst the tragedy, her grandmother recalls Town's act of heroism.
"She died saving her baby," said Dawn Erickson, Town's grandmother. "She had her baby in her arms when they found her. Her double-wide was right to the ground and they have nothing left. Luckily her other two children and her mother were not at home at the time or we might have lost a lot more. If there's anything good that came out of it, it's that (no one else perished) and her baby made it out alive because of what she did. ... (The child) is doing very well right now, she's in pain still and she misses her mother very much, but physically she's doing okay."
A trust fund has been set up through TD Bank to help Town's children. Donations can be made to the fund by calling the bank at 863-471-1553 and asking for the "Town Children Account." The family has lost their home and nearly all of their possessions in the storm and all donations are appreciated.