East Texas family: Daughter safely evacuated from Japan

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

Posted by Tina Sellers

DOUGLASS, TX (KTRE) – "Amanda and babies are in Sacramento, California at Travis Air Force Base!" wrote Marie Kelly as she received long awaited news Tuesday morning that her daughter was back in the United States after evacuating storm ravaged Japan.

Nacogdoches assistant police chief Mike Kelly and his wife, Marie, had been waiting anxious for word that their daughter, Amanda Walsh and their three small grandchildren had safely evacuated from Japan.  That word came Tuesday morning.  "They did not go to Seattle. She just called, and they are waiting on a bus with other military families to be taken to San Francisco, where she will stay in a hotel tonight," Marie Kelly said in an email.

Amanda's husband, Justin, a navy security officer, stayed behind to assist in recovery efforts.

The first concern for their daughter's family came shortly after the earthquake. "They told us it shook for quite a while and it scared them and they lost power and lost phone, but everybody was ok," said Kelly.

Then it was the tsunami. "They were far enough in it wasn't any direct effect, but pretty soon started having problems with just their basic necessities that no one was prepared for," explained Kelly.

Food, formula, gasoline are scarce. "Justin was called for duty shortly after the quake, but he couldn't immediately make it in because of all the road damage," said Kelly.

Now radiation is the fear. "The military is issuing potassium iodine pills today at noon on their base, so that's a fear, you know, to get the kids, the babies away because it's such more a risk for them," said Marie nervously.

Following each disaster, Amanda sent encouraging e-mails and Facebook postings. She's known for her patience, something needed while waiting for her passage out.

"She is exhausted, she said she has been up 40 hours straight. She said the girls are at their limit, silly one minute and crying the next," Marie wrote.  "We will be heading to Houston tomorrow to bring them home!  Thank you all for your prayers."

Of course, KTRE-TV will continue to follow Amanda's journey back home to East Texas.  You can find updates here at KTRE.com and on KTRE's East Texas News.

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