EDWARDSVILLE, Il — The mother of an Amazon worker, who died in Friday’s warehouse collapse, said it still doesn’t feel real that her son is gone. Clayton Cope, 29, was a maintenance worker at the Amazon fulfillment in Edwardsville and died after a tornado struck the facility.
“Just hurts,” said his mom, Carla. “It’s hard to breathe.”
Carla said she and her son were very close. They cooked together, rode motorcycles, and texted each other all the time.
“He texted me every day to tell me that he loved me, ever since he went into the military, because I made him,” she said. “I won’t get that anymore.”
Clay served six years in the Navy before he eventually started working for Amazon. Cope said the night the tornado hit, Clay went back to help people get to shelter, putting others’ safety above his own.
“We talked to him right before it hit,” Carla said. “He’d do anything for anybody and always helped people. So, it doesn’t surprise me that he went back to tell people.”
Carla said her husband also works at Amazon, and she could have easily lost two members of her family that night.
“Unfortunately, on this particular night, it was my son. If it had been last weekend, it would’ve been my husband,” she said. “If It would’ve been a Wednesday I could’ve potentially lost them both.”
She said there are presents under the tree for Clay for Christmas and his birthday this month. Even though her son is no longer with her physically, Carla said can still feel his presence.
“Heartbreaking and comforting,” she said. “Doesn’t say anything, but I feel in there, he’s held my hand several times.”
Miranda Collins, a friend of Clayton’s, described him as one of the most amazing people she’d ever met.
“He loved his family and his friends so much, and he would do anything for anybody even if he just met you,” Collins wrote in an email to FOX 2. “I’ll miss him, his personality, and his heart.”
“Clay died trying to save his coworkers-the thought of them over himself,” she continued. “That was the kind of person that he was, and I hope that’s how he will always be remembered.”
Clay and five other workers were killed in the storm.
Craig Yost, an Amazon delivery driver, was care-flighted to SLU hospital after a concrete wall fell on top of him during the collapse.
“I feel terrible for the families of those, first and foremost, because I was almost one of them,” said Yost. “The worst night of my life for sure. A lot of sadness but a lot of happiness because I’m glad to be alive. I was insanely lucky. I believe that because I wasn’t far away from any of those who weren’t as lucky and could’ve easily been one of them.”
Amazon announced Monday it would be donating $1 million to the families.
Here are some resources to help tornado victims:
- Donate to help with Clayton Cope’s funeral expenses
- To donate to the Red Cross, click here.
- To donate to the Edwardsville Community Foundation Relief Fund, click here.
- There are also certified GoFundMe sites for the victims. For a list of those sites, click here.