Belles safe, Mom awaits call from son in quake zone

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Elizabeth Thomas – email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) – The earthquake in Japan also led to tsunami warnings for the entire US west coast and Hawaii.

More than 100 TJC students, staff, and alumni were just southeast of Honolulu. Thankfully, everyone is safe and sound, and they are expected to fly back to the mainland on Friday.

Apache Belle Director Jasilyn Schaefer spoke to KLTV by phone on Friday, "They were clearing the beach, making sure people stayed off the beach, and were at high ground, they shut down all the shops, the streets were completely empty."

She says news of the tsunami threat spread quickly. Some parents were moved from lower to higher floors of the hotel.

By Friday morning, the beach outside was pretty much back to normal. Virtually no damage, at least where they were.

Angie Butler's daughter is a member of the TJC Color Guard. Around three am on Friday, her daughter called saying they were under a tsunami warning.

A few hours later, a text message settled her nerves a little—everything and everyone was okay.

But Holly McFarland is still waiting to hear from her son Army Sergeant Chad Morphis. She says her phone call came from her nephew who's in the Navy.

"'Well have you watched the news,' and I couldn't imagine what he wanted, and he said 'An earthquake has hit Japan,' and I said, and Chad?"

Holly's son is stationed in Misawa, Japan—a little more than an hour's drive north of the center of the quake.

"Just been one of those days, wondering if he's going to be okay. If it hit him too bad or not, and when he's going to come home, of course," Holly said.

"It's hard, but he'll call… he better," expressed Holly.

Holly says as far as she knows all US military personnel in the quake zone are present and accounted for.

The first group, the TJC travelers, are due back in East Texas by Saturday morning.

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