'Miracle boy' who survived tornado growing up

JOE EDWARDS Associated Press Published:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A 5-year-old Tennessee boy, thrown into a muddy field during a tornado four years ago that killed his mother, likes to go outside and watch the wind blow when the weather threatens.

"He's a daring little boy," says Kay Stowell, his grandmother, who helps care for him.

Kyson Stowell/Noble, then just 1 year old, received worldwide attention in 2008 after rescuers found him face-down and motionless in a rural field about 100 yards from the body of his mother, Kay Stowell's daughter. He needed just two days of hospital treatment, and since then has grown into an energetic little boy who shoots BB guns, rides four-wheelers and hunts for arrowheads with his father.

And he's not scared of tornadoes. Last Friday during severe weather in Tennessee, "He put on his clothes and went outside to see what was going on," his grandmother said in a telephone interview Monday.

Firefighters had found the blond-haired, blue-eyed boy on Feb. 5, 2008. He was discovered in a field strewn with splintered lumber, couches and toys after a string of tornadoes killed 59 people and splintered homes and businesses in five Southern states. Winds in the area had reached 165 mph, making his survival even more incredible.

Just Sunday, an Indiana toddler found in a field after violent tornadoes two days earlier died after being taken off life support. Kay Stowell followed the news.

"It makes me think I'm fortunate that my grandson survived," she said. "All I can do is pray for that family. They'll never get over it, but things ease up a little."

Kyson celebrated his fifth birthday Feb. 16 with a bowling party. Other times, "He likes to play in the leaves and be outdoors. He's a pretty happy little boy," his grandmother says.

Cory Noble, his father, did not live with the boy when the 2008 tornado hit. He was laid off shortly after that for about six months, but has since found work at a tobacco warehouse.

Kyson, who has no brothers or sisters, goes to preschool and then stays with his grandmother until his father gets home from work.

"He talks about losing his mom," Kay Stowell said. "We've been honest with him about everything; he understands because of that."

Kyson uses the word "tornado" and warns others at the appropriate time.

"He'll say, 'It's a tornado,' and everyone should watch out," his grandmother said. "He's mature for his age."

Stowell, who has no other grandchildren, said she's learned not to take life for granted.

"Everybody love your family and love each other. God stands with us. We don't understand everything but we have to be strong for our families left and keep the memories of those we lost."

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Associated Press writer Randall Dickerson contributed to this report.