Shortly after the single most catastrophic natural disaster in U.S. history destroyed the house that Tierra Williams was growing up in... her mother stood in line, asking for relief.
Andrea Williams heard the woman in front of her turning down an offer to relocate from New Orleans to Auburn, Nebraska.
Andrea stepped up and said I'll take that offer. A church in Auburn paid the rent for Tierra and her family for the first six months.
Tierra recalls, "I cried for the first two weeks because it was different. When you're eleven, you're just finding yourself."
Culture shock hit Tierra hard when she arrived in Auburn, "I was reading and writing on a first grade level so it was very, very bad. In math it was bad, I struggled in everything."
Tierra had some very helpful teachers in her new southeast Nebraska school.
Tierra says, "I didn't have a choice but to grow up fast, you know, if I wanted to do something with life I had to learn quickly."
And that she did, not only did she learn to read and write in Auburn, she learned how to soar through the air with the greatest of ease.
This state champion struggled through numerous injuries after she arrived at UNL. But she eventually rose to the occasion and won numerous Big Ten championships and became an All-American. Tierra says, "Years ago, I would have probably never imagined I could be here."