The Weather Channels Mike Bettes, a meteorologist and tornado chaser/scientist...was reporting live from Joplin within an hour after the tornado hit. He was in a neighborhood completely wiped out by the F5 that hit Joplin. As Mike was reporting live a man who had survived approached him, he began frantically pleading for his help to search through the rubble of his neighbors home. His neighbor and friend, 73 yr. old 'Larry', was believed to be buried under the rubble. Larry's home had completely collapsed into the basement.
The man's frantic plea's for help combined with the obvious intense devastation he was witnessing, led to meteorologist and tornado chaser Mike Bettes breaking down emotionally into tears as his cameraman kept filming live. As a result, many who were viewing the live coverage at the time became emotionally involved with the story of the lost neighbor, 'Larry'. Mike & TWC have a Facebook page he calls 'Tornado Hunt'. Many people began following his page hoping against all odds, along with Mike Bettes and his fellow WC meteorologists, that Larry would be recovered alive. It wasn't until Monday that rescue workers began digging through the rubble of Larry's home searching for him, but they didn't find him, so began searching again this morning, Tuesday.
Continuing prayers and thoughts of concern for Larry's fate were posted by many who were following the story on Mike's Facebook wall. Many were checking daily asking for any updates on whether or not Larry had been found, but no one had posted any updates on Larry, not even Mike. In the meantime, Mike Bettes moved on to report live from Oklahoma, where tornadoes were predicted to occur today. As I would discover later, the haunting plea's for help from Larry's neighbor were still very much in Mike's thoughts. I would imagine he felt helpless, knowing there was nothing he could do considering the massive heavy pile of rubble that was once a home to 73 yr. old 'Larry'.
I was one of those who was following the story hoping Larry would be found alive, and also checked Mike's Facebook wall frequently hoping for good news. After checking Mike's Facebook early today finding no updates on Larry...I decided to Google to see if I could find any related news stories about a 73 yr. old man named Larry being found. After about two hours of searching and reading through articles related to Joplins tornado, I came across one that indeed gave me the news I was searching and hoping for. Larry had been located this morning, alive and well!!
I assumed Mike Bettes knew, but was so overwhelmed with reporting for TWC, considering all the recent tornadic activity the last 3 days, that possibly he didn't have time to update those of us concerned asking for any news related to 'Larry'. I took it upon myself to post the good news on Mike's Facebook wall this afternoon, including posting the link to the news article I found verifying Larry had been found.
I assumed wrong, Mike Bettes did not know that Larry had been found. He learned Larry was alive after reading my post on his wall. Mike Bettes then posted a reply to me stating how relieved, happy, and excited he was to read the news Larry was alive and well. He thanked me, and said he going to post the good news on his Twitter, letting others know who were concerned about Larry's fate also.
At first I was somewhat humbled by Mike Bettes thanking me, as well as others following the story on his Facebook, feeling as if I was unworthy of thanks. I really didn't do anything I thought, other than search Google because I had an overwhelming desire myself to know if Larry had been found or not. I too had been feeling sad and helpless, reading so many tragic stories of life lost the last couple of days knowing there was nothing I could do. I wasn't able to help the victims, but without realizing it I suppose I helped bring a bit of inner peace to Mike Bettes. He may have heard the good news at some point from someone else...but I'm glad now I was able to be the one to bring it to him first. Reading his joyful reaction to my post of Larry being found alive and well, somehow makes me feel better too.
Here is a copy/paste of what I posted on Mike Bettes (Tornado Hunt) FB Wall...following my post are those by Mike Bettes. He's so happy, and that makes me happy!
Connie Jo Gillespie
For those following the story of the 73 yr. old man named Larry who was missing and his friend was frantically looking for him...he has been found & is okay! Here is a link to the story, which mentions Larry towards the end. :)
Tornado Hunt So relieved. I'm reposting and tweeting it now! Thanks for finding this!
Connie Jo Gillespie You're welcome. I've been following the story from day one of Larry being missing. There were no updates on any related FB pages, so I Googled & began reading related Joplin tornado news stories...was very happy myself to find this story!! :)
Kathy Wolf @ Connie Jo, Thanks so much for finding that story! For those of us that watched the Live Feed for hours that night & kept seeing Larry's friend so worried about his neighbor & trying to get help it's heartening to know he survived the storm.
Mike Bettes verified my link, read the story of Larry being found, then he posted this after:
Relieved to report that Larry is alive and well!! Survived Joplin tornado and was at friends house. Will post article soon! Connie G's FB post has the link. Thanks Connie! Great find! Literally!