Frightened Oklahoma teen texts goodbye to family during deadly tornado

Posted at 11:40 PM, May 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-24 23:56:10-04

Moore, Oklahoma - In the middle of the storm, a frightened high school student sent a goodbye message to her mom. The family survived, but the teen kept her emotions buried inside. Today, the sight of volunteers cleaning up her home is what the girl needed to finally let her tears flow. Mike Mather has the family's story.

A crew of orange-shirted volunteers flocked to Diana Bracelin's battered house in the Stonebridge neighborhood.

The volunteers like Texas school teacher Allison Collins came unannounced, unexpected. And it turned out to be just what Keirstin Bracelin needed.

After seeing all this kindness from strangers, the Moore high school senior finally opened up and cried. She revealed just how fearful she was as she saw on television the twister slashing towards her school.

“We had it up on a projector, and they were saying it's hitting the Walmart. It's right by the Walmart. And then the power went off right after that so we didn't know. We were all just in the dark. It was really scary."

“The last text I received was, 'Mother, I love you. I'm getting underneath my desk,' and that was it," says Diana.

Cell service was failing. Her mother, at work, couldn't get through.  With the storm bearing down, Keirstin considered that message her goodbye.

Mike Mather: When you sent that text, what were you thinking?

“That I was going to be gone,” says Keirstin.

Eventually, the family made it back home.

“I just started crying. I had no words. I was just in total shock,” says Diana.

They both lost people they cared about to the storm. It's been a hard few days. And maybe that's why these volunteers meant so much to them.

“People have been contacting us from all over the country. It's just amazing that we're cared for,” says Diana.