I know almost nothing about Jackiesue

I only just learned she even exists a few minutes ago. She calls herself “a pagan and a left wing democrat” in the tagline of her blog “Yellowdog Granny,” where she also says “I got older but I never grew up.” She’s a friend of someone I’ve known online for a few years. She’s in her late 60s.  She lives in Texas.

Oh, and I know that she works a day or two a month in the West Rest Haven, a nursing home in her town. And I also know how she spent her Wednesday evening, as recounted in her blog:

[S]he told me the fertilizer plant had blown up and that the nursing home had been damaged I said I’m going. She said not to go that the other one could blow at any time. I said “I’m going.” I drove straight down Reagan Street and passed a house on fire and then on the right I could see the Jr. High School was on fire and then I could see the apts which are directly across the street from the nursing home and it was almost a shell. I parked in my usual place and got my flashlight and leaving my keys in truck and purse too and went inside. I along with a bunch of other people were taking residents out in wheel chairs… water every where, the ceiling had falling, beeping alarms, insulation knee deep in places. I was soaked from head to toe. water leaking from the sprinklers and plaster all over the place. Each room with windows caved in, furniture upside down, beds turned over. The dining room was a jumble of chairs and tables. One of the nurses said the building just imploded. the roof went up and then came down and the windows blew in at the same time.…

The amount of immediate help was wonderful to see. They got all the residents to the senior center for emergency help. We went through the building about 4-5 times to make sure we got everyone.

I know I’m not the only person who’s commented on the people who’ve run towards the horror to see what they can do to help in the last few days.

But it’s been the kind of week where the more stories I hear about people trying to make the world better right now, the better I can make it through the rest of the week. Maybe you’re feeling that way too.

Like I said, I don’t really know much about Jackiesue. Except that I know yesterday she ran toward the horror to help people she cared about. That makes my world a little better right now.


  1. Amblebury says


    The more publicity they get the better. Because then every good and decent human being who feels they’re alone gets to know they most certainly are not. And knowledge is power.

    Faith in the self-effacing, decent people who do stuff – good stuff – is probably the only faith I have.

  2. anteprepro says

    And it’s stuff like this that ensures that I will never be a true misanthrope. Just pretty damn close.

  3. says

    Thanks for posting this.
    People often talk about celebrities as heroes. Me, when I think of a hero jackisue definitely fits the bill.

    This wonderful news of courage and heroism was brought to us by PZs co-blogger Chris.

  4. Moggie says

    Hollywood would have you believe that people who walk away from explosions are cool. I think they have this exactly backwards.

  5. philhoenig says

    The Tempest, Act V, Scene I:

    Miranda: O, wonder!/How many goodly creatures are there here!/How Beauteous mankind is!/O brave new world,/That has such people in’t!

  6. rq says

    These stories make my heart go all warm and fuzzy, even with the horrible background against which they’re set. There is some hope for humanity.

  7. Sue says

    Tony @ 5 Thanks, since my life is also better for Chris co-blogging here, I should have checked. Posting in the dark insomnia soaked hours of a Spanish night is a bad excuse – but also a bad idea :)

  8. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    Chris, yay for folks doing their best to help others – and thank you for sharing that story so we can all be a little more cheered-up tonight.

  9. Ulysses says

    Thank you, Jackiesue, for bringing some light into the world. Now please excuse me while I wipe my eye.

  10. jnorris says

    It is too easy to get depressed and despondent about America while reading the news. Then the heroics in Boston and West, TX changes everything, some.

  11. says

    I’d strongly suggest reading labor historian Erik Loomis’s posts on Lawyers, Guns & Money about this tragedy; he’s been pointing out that unions and zoning regulations could have mitigated the damage. His initial post was swarmed by M1ch3lle M@lk1n’s attack chihuahuas; here’s his follow-up post trying to explain causality to the willfully ignorant. And his latest post, with more details about how most of the U.S. doesn’t do well when it comes to protecting people (either workers or neighbors) from industrial accidents.

  12. says

    Thanks for this, Chris. I just posted this on FB: more people need to know it’s not just young fit first-responders rushing to help those in need.

    This is not just uplifting and full of hope and promise. It’s a hint at what we all could be, given the right circumstances.

    I just do not wish those circumstances on anyone.

  13. says

    Ah! Sorry. Your addendum on your nym made me hope for a bit that you were part of the Cleveland derby scene. I had hoped that perhaps I might be able to say hello to you at the derby event tomorrow.

    In any case: sorry about that. This probably wasn’t the right place to mention it anyway.

  14. fastlane says

    I’ve never been tested in a manner where my personal safety was at stake in helping others, but I’ve been in first responder situations several times. I was a lifeguard for a number of years, and I’ve always kept my first aid/CPR training current (every 2 years) as well.

    In the couple of situations where I was the first responder, I was generally heading towards the person in trouble while everyone around was just looking around trying to figure out what happened. I hope if I’m ever needed in a situation, I can be as brave as Jackiesue.

  15. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    Oh my, that blog is hilarious, unintentionally.

    When it blew I was on the computer and it almost knocked me out of my chair.. . and I’m such an idiot .. my first thought was “well, that little asshole North Korean does have a bomb.”

  16. says

    Comments like #22 are why I walked away from this post for a full ten minutes second-guessing myself over whether I should hit “publish” or delete the thing.

  17. says

    Ms. Daisy Cutter:

    HAHAHAHA… er, if you don’t already know, don’t make me explain it to you. :P

    Oh, I know — and I thought it might be an inside joke on your part. But there really is a derby team here called the Cleveland Steamers. (They also know.) So I hoped I might get a chance to meet your awesome self.

    Chris Clarke:

    Comments like #22 are why I walked away from this post for a full ten minutes second-guessing myself over whether I should hit “publish” or delete the thing.

    No way. This was an excellent post, and a much-needed reminder that we are all first responders. She was not just heroic: she was selfless, something much bigger.

  18. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    Chris –
    I was struck by her stream of consciousness, highly detailed, matter of fact recounting … few emotionally laden adjectives, just the facts. She was still in full “rescuer mode”.

    When she told me the fertilizer plant had blown up and that the nursing home had been damaged I said I’m going. She said not to go that the other one could blow at any time. I said “I’m going.”

    It’s a fearsome sight when a Texas granny grabs her keys and heads out the door because something needs to be done.

    Her followup post …

    The second thing I had to do was mentally slap the crap out of myself..can’t lose it..can’t lose it..Can’t be of any good to anyone, if you lose it..so I sucked it up and got to work. (snip) …. ….and in the blink of an eye…it’s gone. It’s ripped and torn, soaked with water and debris, spotted with blood..your at the end of your ‘golden years’ and you have lost every thing..not once but twice..
    That’s when I lost it..

    Amazing woman.