Bloomington, IL,
08:00 AM

Mattress Helps Protect Arkansas Family From Disaster

State Farm was there when family needed them the most

Daniel and Sherry Cunningham’s son Matt heard tornado sirens revving up shortly after 7pm Sunday night in Vilonia, Arkansas. They switched on the TV to a Little Rock station. A tornado was on the ground near Maumelle, AR - headed directly in their direction at 50 mph ground speed. They knew they had about 20 minutes, maybe.

There was a flurry of activity to gather a few prize possessions. This left just enough time to rush next door to collect the neighbor’s pets. The family and pets took shelter in the closet and bathroom.

Daniel went into the bedroom and grabbed a mattress, telling Sherry (a stickler for a clean house), “We’ll make the bed up in the morning.”

Sherry had grabbed her laptop and a few items, and they were all in the hallway under the mattress. They had used up 15 minutes.

Sherry said she felt like this might be the end of everything for them. Conditions outside the last few minutes were  bad. They expressed their love for each other and waited…about two more minutes, then everything started to shake.

Daniel said at first, he could hear individual shingles coming off the roof. Then debris started slamming into the house intensely. They felt a shift in pressure and everything “seemed to lift” a little. The tornado had arrived.

A long minute later, and it was over. A board had fallen from somewhere and wedged against the wall, pinning the mattress down onto them. Sherry said that mattress probably saved their lives.

The next morning, they heard from their State Farm agent, Jay Paul Bernard, when he came to their house.  Daniel said they have had a very good experience with Jay Paul, and they love State Farm. Sherry said, “He’s been out to our house every day.”

The Cunninghams feel very much taken care of…“that’s what good neighbors do for one another.” Sherry added, that what seems to be important has been redefined from her experience.

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