Kyanna Parsons-Perez spent a terrifying two hours pinned under five feet of rubble in a Kentucky candle factory destroyed by a deadly tornado last week, pleading for assistance in a livestream on Facebook.
Help finally arrived in the form of Kentucky state troopers Nate Moore and Garret Clark, who worked to pry her free.
She had not seen them since the night of the tornado on Dec. 10, but told TODAY earlier this week that she would give them "a big 'ol hug" if she ever met up again with the rescuers she calls her "angels."
That emotional moment came on TODAY Friday as Parsons-Perez shed tears during a surprise reunion with Moore and Clark alongside Al Roker outside His House Ministries church in Mayfield.
"Thank you so much," Parsons-Perez said as she gripped them in a hug. "Thank you for keeping me calm and for not leaving me because everybody else had gotten out, and I thought everybody was going to leave me because I was jammed in that corner, so thank you for not leaving me."
"It's an emotional subject, very much," Clark said.
Parsons-Perez said one trooper helped push her from behind and another pulled her up out of the rubble. She needed assistance because she was trapped for so long that one of her legs fell asleep.
Parsons-Perez was working a late shift at the Mayfield Consumer Products factory just hours ahead of her 40th birthday to raise some extra money for Christmas presents for her four children when the tornado thrashed the building. Dozens of workers were trapped, and eight people died.
Parsons-Perez put out a call for help on Facebook while struggling to get free of the debris.
“We are trapped," she said in the video. "Please y’all get us some help. We are at the candle factory in Mayfield. Please, please. Y’all please. Somebody please send us some help. The wall is stuck on me. Nobody can get to us. We can’t move. Please y’all pray for us."
The tornado that hit Mayfield was part of a group of twisters that tore through six states, killing at least 90 people. It's the deadliest tornado in Kentucky history after leaving 76 people dead.
The death toll in Kentucky includes victims ranging in age from 2 months old to 98 after four twisters hit the state, including one that had a path of about 200 miles, authorities said.
Mark Saxton was also working at the candle factory that night and spent hours trapped under the rubble while worrying about the safety of his wife, Courtney, and their five children at their home just two miles from the factory.
Courtney got into a bathtub with the children, who range in age from 3 to 13, to try to stay safe when the tornado hit. The twister tore the roof off their home in Mayfield. At one point, Courtney lost consciousness, and her 12-year-old son, Ibrahim, performed CPR on her to revive her.
"I was scared because I’m not knowing what’s going on, but I just kept praying," Courtney said on TODAY Friday. "To the kids, I’m like, 'It’s gonna be OK y’all, it’s gonna be OK.'"
Mark escaped with cuts and bruises but no serious injuries and was able to call Courtney at home.
"It was life-changing," Mark said on TODAY. "I’ve never seen nothing like that in my 37 years of my living. I thought the whole time that I might not get out of there until the last three minutes."
Al joined Parsons-Perez and the Saxtons on TODAY Friday alongside pastor Stephen Boyken of His House Ministries to bring some hope to the devastated region.
He shared that Bananagrams has donated 2,000 gift bags for children ahead of Christmas, Lowe's has donated $500 gift cards for a total of $25,000, and Kroger has sent multiple trucks loaded with pallets of water and non-perishable foods to Mayfield while also pledging up to $10,000 to Feeding America Kentucky's Heartland.
"Right now we can look at this as a tragedy, or we can see that there’s hope, and right at Christmas what we really see is this beautiful coming together of hope," Boyken said.