'Pillowcase Project' Helps One Moore Kid Prepare For Severe Weather

Thursday, March 26th 2015, 6:32 pm
By: News 9

One brave little boy in Moore proved, during Wednesday's tornado, how far he has come emotionally since the tornadoes in 2013.

He lost his home in the Plaza Towers neighborhood two years ago and he has been scared of storms ever since. However, a chance encounter with a pillowcase changed everything when a tornado struck on March 25, 2015.

The Red Cross has an educational outreach program called "The Pillowcase Project" to help kids prepare for severe weather and 8-year-old J. Michael Alarcon received his pillowcase earlier this week.

“Here are two things, a blanket you can wrap around yourself and a long-lasting glow stick,” said J. Michael.

His Red Cross pillowcase has all sorts of severe weather items that saved the day for his family on Wednesday.

“This tornado, I had this bag to be safe,” said J. Michael.

3/26/2015 Related Story: NWS: Multiple Small Tornadoes Touched Down In Moore, OKC

J. Michael got the pillowcase Monday at Winding Creek Elementary School in Moore and when the sirens sounded two days later, his dad got the family into the shelter.

“I just went into panic mode and I'm the one who is supposed to be calm,” said Jesse Alarcon, J. Michael's father.

Alarcon admitted he was not prepared.

“We are all in the shelter and I realize, we don't have anything in here, no radio, no nothing and it's pitch black and my son is going through his bag and he goes, ‘Don't worry dad, I've got everything we need,'" Alarcon told News 9.

Alarcon said J. Michael had a breakdown after the deadly Moore tornado in 2013 and as recently as last week, was still upset during tornado drills.

“The teacher was telling him to crouch down, hands behind the neck, and he said, ‘I'm not doing that, that's how they died in Plaza,' and he started panicking, saying he was going to run away,” Alarcon explained.

Now, J. Michael has turned his panic into preparedness with a pillowcase.

“It had a lot of equipment and I never used the stuff inside it except for finding a flashlight,” J. Michael beamed.

“He was calm as a cucumber. He took over the whole situation and I am just proud of him,” Alarcon said.

All the family lost in this storm was part of their fence.

Learn more about the Red Cross Pillowcase Project.