Virginia tornado victim returns home to Jersey City family; still mourns loss of relatives
SECAUCUS - A young woman is returning home to New Jersey after deadly tornado at a Virginia campground took the lives of three family members.
Jelyn Ortega Fallarme says the storm on July 24 came without warning. Her aunt and uncle were killed when a tree fell on their tent. A 14-year-old cousin died from his injuries just last week.
Ortega spent nearly a month in a Virginia hospital. "But you know, I still feel that I'm lucky cause I'm alive."
Jersey City Medical Center sent three EMTs to retrieve Ortega. It was a long ride but they say they did it gladly, taking turns at the wheel and caring for their patient.
"She was extremely grateful when we showed up," says EMT Michael Flores. "Her face lit up as soon as we entered into the room. She knew she was going home."
Ortega was greeted in Secaucus by her husband of only a few months, Niccolo Fallarme, who was with his wife when the tornado hit. Ortega was visiting her husband from the Philippines when she was hurt.
Two other cousins were injured, but are now facing a road to recovery surrounded by family and friends.
The hospitals have agreed to cover the cost of Ortega's trip home as well as her rehabilitation.