Ex-Tide football star Javier Arenas survived Tuscaloosa tornado, gives back to storm victims (video)
Published: Wednesday, May 04, 2011, 11:32 AM Updated: Wednesday, May 04, 2011, 12:00 PM
By Don Kausler Jr./Tuscaloosa Bureau, The Birmingham News, Press-Register, and The Huntsville Times al.com
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Former Alabama football star Javier Arenas, standing in the middle, and friends spread out items that he brought back from Kansas City, Mo., to be donated to Tuscaloosa tornado victims. (Tuscaloosa Bureau/Don Kausler Jr.)
TUSCALOOSA - One block from mass destruction, former Alabama football star Javier Arenas rode out the deadly Tuscaloosa tornado in his bathtub. Two days later, he rode to Kansas City, where he now is a defensive back with the NFL's Chiefs.
Then he rode back Tuesday to Tuscaloosa with his SUV filled with items to donate to storm victims. He pulled up in the University Mall parking lot Wednesday morning with a few friends, emptied his vehicle and started greeting residents who were in need.
"I want to thank the makers of my tub," said Arenas, who was alone at his house close to the intersection of 15th Street and McFarland Boulevard. He said his house is still standing, but the houses one block away were demolished.
"We had warnings the week before," Arenas said. "To be quite blunt, I didn't believe it was going to hit. I looked out my window and it was by Forest Lake. I realized it was coming straight toward where I was. It was a minute and 45 seconds of the worst sounds you could heard.
"I was real blessed. It was a life-changing experience."
Arenas made the roundtrip to Kansas City with Sarah Buschmann, a triple jumper on Alabama's track team who is from Kansas City. They returned with items that were donated by members of the Alabama Alumni Association's Kansas City chapter, and they went on a shopping spree at Sam's.
Among the items Arenas was donating were animal crackers, granola bars, apple sauce, fruit cups, peanut butter, canned tuna and corn, bottled water, batteries, sun block, bug spray, tooth paste, diapers, soap, deodorant and what Arenas called "girl products."