As the walls around him began to come apart, he placed a call to his wife, Tammy in Neosho. The roaring winds forced him to yell what he thought could be his last words to his best friend. He said to her, "Its really bad and I said I don't know if I'll survive it. I think I could die and I told her that I loved her and that she knew how to take care of things and hopefully I'd talk to her later." As the tornado passed, Decker managed to pull himself out of the rubble. With destruction everywhere, he immediately rushed to the aid of his neighbors. Decker stated, "When it seemed that everyone was okay I knew I had to get to the hospital." Decker then began his journey on foot to where he felt he was needed most, Freeman Health System. The chaplain said, "The heart couldn't take in what the mind was seeing" about the three mile walk. The minister recalls an image of seeing two nurses literally running towards the hospital. "And I think that is really a picture of what happened that evening when people came to help when they didn't have to," said Decker. As he entered the hospital he was overwhelmed by the sea of people needing help.
Decker joined his team of chaplains, trying to provide comfort to those in their last hour. He says, "We tried to make sure people didn't die alone and that someone was with them." With a heavy heart he also tried to comfort frantic family members. "We tried to help family members find their loved ones. It was so difficult because there were so many people and that really grew frustrating," said Decker. The minister believes seeing young victims of the tornado being brought into the hospital was one of the most tragic moments of his life. "I've been through other things that I think later I was able to forget. I don't think I'll ever forget this," he stated. Like so many, Decker has relied on his faith to keep him going. Decker declared, "I've said all along that I don't feel so much God spared me but I felt that God was present with me through it."
One year later, Decker continues to council survivors of the tornado by helping them process the pain and gain the strength to move forward. "And to see those people survive and later go out of here or walk out of here is something that I'll always remember too," said Decker. The six month anniversary ceremony at Cunningham Park was a significant moment for Decker and he plans to take part in many of the memorial services on May 22nd.