Ice Storm’s 25th Anniversary Marked by Triumph Over Tragedy
FLORENCE, AL – The devastating ice storm of February 10, 1994, is one during which many people in the Shoals will recall the reigning Miss UNA, Jacque Rainwater, nearly lost her life when her car was crushed on Walnut Street by a falling ice-laden tree. This February marks the 25th Anniversary of that storm, and Jacque Rainwater is returning to the Shoals area to celebrate triumph over that tragedy.
During the 1994 accident, Rainwater had a broken neck, a fractured skull, punctured lungs, and injuries to her chest which literally exposed her heart. Rainwater coded on the scene twice from going into cardiac arrest, but was revived.
Told by a neurosurgeon that her daughter would probably not make it through the night, Susie Rainwater, Rainwater’s mother, along with countless friends across the community, began to hold vigil over Rainwater. With Rainwater in a coma, their vigil would last for 31 days. Doctors had told them if she did not wake within 30 days, she likely would never return. But, on day 31 Rainwater woke. Upon doing so, however, she could not see, walk, nor talk. She did not even know her family.
“I never realized how hard it was going to be for Jacque to find her way back to normal,” said Susie Rainwater. “I only knew we were going to have to fight for all that we could get, and never give up.”
Rainwater proved to be a tenacious fighter. Despite facing innumerable challenges, over the months that followed she slowly reclaimed her life. Even when doctors advised her not to return to college, she refused and eventually graduated from the University of North Alabama in 1997.
Appearing on such shows as “It’s a Miracle” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Rainwater shared her story and began to use it as a platform to encourage and help others. Today, she is a beacon of hope, speaking to groups and organizations about overcoming adversity through faith.
Rainwater, who now lives in Cullman, Alabama, will return to the Shoals as an author. Her autobiography, “On a Limb and a Prayer” is being released to coincide with a 25th Anniversary Celebration of Life event on February 9, 2019, at the Shoals Marriott Conference Center.
“My life was actually hanging ‘on a limb,‘” Rainwater said. “I believe it was the love of God and His work through amazing people that helped me survive that day.”
In her autobiography, Rainwater recounts her near-death experiences, along with all she has learned throughout her journey. As her book cover notes: “By the grace of God, the love of her family, and her own sheer determination, Jacque Rainwater is an overcomer, who now shares and encourages others to be overcomes too. Her insights into the pursuit of happiness in the midst of adversity will challenge you. Her sense of humor and passion for life will captivate, motivate, and uplift you. Jacque will inspire you to embrace ALL that God has blessed you with – particularly the amazing gift of simply being ALIVE!”
The 200-plus-page book, which retails for $15.99, includes photos and news clippings, as well as recollections from rescue workers, friends, and family. Proceeds from the book will help to support “Living Out The Miracle,” the Jacque Rainwater Foundation.
“The doctors said if I lived I would probably never be able to walk or speak again,” said Rainwater. “But here I am. I am alive! And they can’t shut me up!”
For more information, to schedule Rainwater to speak to your organization, or to order a copy of “On a Limb and a Prayer,” visit JacqueRainwater.com.
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