Moore Teacher Shields Students From Tornado, Recovers From Injuries

Friday, May 31st 2013, 6:45 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

In Moore, only one teacher remains in the hospital right now. She was badly injured shielding her students from the tornado.

Karen Marinelli is at the Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Hospital recovering from injuries she suffered as she used her body to protect her three third grade students.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

Marinelli will have to get used to a wheel chair. She will have to use it for months as the broken bones in her back and spine heal. It was her back that would ultimately shelter three little boys from the massive tornado that tore through Plaza Towers Elementary.

"The roof came off and bricks were falling on top of us," said Liam Newby, one of the three boys. "My teacher laid on top of us and jumped on top of us and was saving us."

A brick wall would come crashing down on top of them.

"It just smashed my body straight down," recalled Marinelli. "My pelvis hit the floor, my legs went out beside me. I couldn't move anything."

The three little boys were still underneath her.

"I just told them it's going to be alright we are going to get out of here" Marinelli recalled.

When it was all over. The three boys were pulled from the school with barely a scratch.

"I couldn't believe anyone would do that for my little boy," Liam's mother Alise Newby said tearfully.

Most agree, without Mrs. Marinelli doing what she did the boys likely wouldn't have made it.

"I love my students as my own, as my own kids. I couldn't imagine something happening to them," Marinelli said.

"You can't repay somebody for a child's life," Alise Newby said.

But Liam's mom says she's going to try to anyway.

"There's not words to describe how I feel about that woman now, she's our hero," Newby said.

Mrs. Marinelli still has several months of rehab ahead of her, but she is expected to make a full recovery. However, in the meantime her husband who is staying with her isn't getting paid for his time off work. So a fund at BancFirst has been set up to help the family.

To donate call or go to any BancFirst location in Oklahoma and give to:

Dominic Marinelli for the benefit of Karen Marinelli.

Main: 1-877-602-2262

Central Oklahoma: 405-495-2489

Stillwater: 405-742-6290

You can also donate online