Alyssa Burks/Facebook,Evan Clower/GoFundMe
A Jonesboro, Arkansas doctor working in a hospital went viral after his wife shared how he was distancing himself from her and their young song, Zeke, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Then, a tornado that hit Jonesboro on Saturday destroyed the family's home while he was inside, "but he survived by the grace of God," his wife said.
A GoFundMe organized by a family friend has raised more than $40,000 in less than 24 hours.
"At a time when our economy is suffering from all of this, it is incredible to see people who are worried about money giving back to the people who are helping take care of our community," Evan Clower told Insider.
A doctor and his wife in Jonesboro, Arkansas, who went viral last week as the subject of a viral Facebook post about social distancing, lost their home as a result of tornadoes in Arkansas on Saturday.
Dr. Jared Burks is a resident physician at Saint Bernards Medical Center in Jonesboro. Burks and his wife, Alyssa, decided the best way to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus was to separate as he continued to work at the hospital.
Related: The U.S. Gets 4 Times As Many Twisters As Rest of the World
"He is working right now in a rotation that has him all over the hospital, including the ER, and he just felt like it would be responsible for us to quarantine from each other," his wife told KATV.
Alyssa, and their 1-year-old son, Zeke, went to live nearby with her parents, while her husband continued to live in the couple's shared home.
A viral photo shared to Facebook on March 25 showed their young son pressing his hand against the glass of his grandparent's front door so that he could get closer to his father, who was doing the same thing from the other side of the glass. Through the glass, Burks watched his son crawl for the first time, his wife told KATV.
"Look who we finally got to see today! Not going to pretend that I didn't bawl like a baby when he left to go back to work. We miss him, but we are doing what we have to do," Alyssa wrote in the Facebook post that tugged on heartstrings and had been shared more than 56,000 times.
"The more we stay home, the less likely we are to spread it and the less likely they are to be affected by it as well," Alyssa told the Little Rock ABC affiliate.
But then — around 5 p.m. Saturday, the family was dealt another blow. While Jared was inside their home, a tornado struck, destroying the property.
According to KY3, the tornados left six people injured and destroyed both commercial and residential areas in the city, which has a population of more than 76,000. Stores in the area were empty due to attempts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which likely helped reduce the number of injuries, Jonesboro E-911 Director Jeff Presley told KY3.
"We are all safe," Alyssa wrote in a post to Facebook late on Saturday. "Our house is gone. Jared was inside, but he survived by the grace of God."
In times of a crisis, a friend and hundreds of strangers flock to help
Evan Clower told Insider she had been best friends with Burks for more than 10 years since she and Alyssa were in the same sorority together in college. When she heard about what happened to her friend and her family, she decided to create a GoFundMe.
"It's been a whirlwind, and I did not expect this GoFundMe to be as crazy as it has and it's awesome," Clower said.
Originally, she weighed setting the GoFundMe goal at $1,000. Clower, who is self-quarantining with her mother in a town in northwest Arkansas, said, "I think that is significant and can kinda help them." Her mother suggested she go a little higher to $2,500.
Clower said she thought that might be too high, but agreed to her mother's suggestion. Her mom was on the right track, as more than 1,200 donors have raised over $42,000 in less than 24 hours.
People around the world have been eager to show appreciation to medical workers. In New York City, for example, people across the city took to their balconies, windows, and rooftops on Friday to offer applause for the city's essential workers, which largely consist of those in the healthcare field.
"It takes a special person to separate themselves from their family to help save our country. For that sacrifice you and your family are making, God will bless you and rain showers of blessings on you. Keep your head up and keep prayer first," one woman named Nicole, who donated $10, wrote.
"My husband was an ED doc," wrote Brenda, a donor who gave $25 to the fund. "You are so appreciated!"
Clower agreed the outpouring in support likely stems from a desire to support healthcare workers as they remain on the frontlines of the battle against the novel coronavirus.
"At a time when our economy is suffering from all of this, it is incredible to see people who are worried about money giving back to the people who are helping take care of our community because that doesn't happen a lot," she said. "You realize in a hard time there are more good than bad, and it's a blessing."