Child Who Was Injured In Briarwood Shares Her Road To Recovery

Tuesday, May 20th 2014, 10:03 pm
By: News 9

A Moore girl badly injured and pulled from the debris at Briarwood Elementary in last year's tornado is making a great recovery.

Her wounds have healed, but the memories of that day live with her.

Kaylee Hawkins was not only injured at Briarwood, she was scooped up by a stranger who rushed in to help and then there was a frantic search for her parents.

It took a while for Kaylee Hawkins to find her smile again after May 20, 2013.

"I'm still scared of storms, hoping there's no storms, like bad severe storms while I'm at school," Kaylee Hawkins said.

When the tornado hit Kaylee's school, she suffered a huge hole in her leg and gash on her head from part of the roof collapsing.

"Yeah, it was scary and loud and I could hear thunder," Kaylee said.

She was rescued by Shaun Erickson, an Iraqi war veteran and Good Samaritan.

Kaylee was rushed to the hospital, but no one could find her parents in the chaos.

News 9 helped put the word out, explaining there was a little 9-year-old girl named Kaylee Hawkins who was injured, but okay, and officials were trying to find her parents.

"When you don't know if your kids are alive and it's out of your control, that's the worst part," Kaylee's dad, Chad Hawkins, said.

5/22/13 Related Story: Survivor, 9, From Briarwood Elementary Happy To Go Home

People started contacting Chad on his phone and through social media.

Eventually the family was reunited.

Now a year later, Kaylee is back to full speed being a kid, but still cautious.

"She reacts to any kind of bad weather thinking, 'could this happen again?' So it's one of those things you try and block it out, just the memories of it," Chad Hawkins said.

However, the scar on Kaylee's leg, the new Briarwood Elementary under construction down the street and a million other constant reminders make it impossible to forget.

So Kaylee chooses to embrace it.

Chad Hawkins said he is so proud of how brave Kaylee was during such a scary time.

He said he wanted to share his family's update to show that tragic things can happen, but we can also come back from them.