After a vicious tornado ripped through her Moore, Okla. home on Tuesday, Rebecca Vitsmun was lucky to be alive. After graciously handling an awkward moment while discussing the aftermath on national television, more good fortune is headed her way.
In a Tuesday interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Vitsmun was asked if she was thanking "the Lord" for deciding to escape home with her 19-month-old son. She hesitated for a moment, before telling Blitzer that she was actually an atheist.
"You are. All right. But you made the right call," Blitzer said, prompting Vitsmun to add: "We are here, and I don't blame anyone for thanking the Lord."
An Indiegogo community called Atheists Unite has responded resoundingly in support of Vitsmun's poise. Over just a few hours from late Thursday into early Friday, 250-plus funders had raised more than $7,000 for her. According to the page, a fundraising goal of $50,000 in assistance has been set.
"It's important that our community shows that we have your back when you come out publicly as an atheist," the campaign page wrote. "Let's show the world that you dont need to believe in a god to have human compassion nor does all charity fall under the banner of religion. Let's get this courageous woman and her family back in their own home."
As of late Thursday, the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's office listed the EF-5 tornado death toll at 24 people, including ten children. According to the Associated Press, damage estimates stood at $1.5 billion to $2 billion, with as many as 13,000 homes affected by the natural disaster.