‘It only lasted 30 to 45 seconds’

Published 11:00 am Thursday, June 24, 2010

A family who lives north of Clarks Grove in Bath Township count themselves lucky even though much of their farm was destroyed.

Bob Wayne and his wife, Lisa Dunn, live at 77552 330th St. in Freeborn County. Every building on their property was damaged by a tornado, but no one was hurt.

“That’s the most important thing,” Wayne said.

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Their neighbor, Brad Nelson, called them on the evening of June 17 and told them they should be in the basement because the storm was headed straight toward their house.

“Within a minute or so we were hit,” Dunn said. “It only lasted 30 to 45 seconds.”

Even though the wind didn’t last long, both Wayne and Dunn said it felt like it lasted a lot longer. Dunn said the wind was very loud, but it didn’t sound anything like a freight train. They were watching the storm out a small window in their basement, and Dunn said everything “just went sideways.”

A turkey barn on their property was severely damaged, though luckily it was empty. A turkey delivery was scheduled for Monday. The barn is already being repaired.

A two-story barn and smaller outbuildings were completely demolished. Of the three bins they had only one was left standing because it was half-full of grain. Neighbors and friends volunteered to come out and haul 40,000 bushels of grain away because the standing bin was so badly damaged.

“What’s really wonderful is the people who come out,” Wayne said. “It makes all the difference.”

Wayne mentioned people from their church, friends and neighbors all have helped with cleanup so far. A group of Mennonites from Riceville, Iowa, came to volunteer to pick their fields, and office workers from AgStar also came and helped pick debris out of the fields.

“It starts looking better every day,” Wayne said. “We’ve been blessed with all the people who are helping.”

Dunn said the American Red Cross and Salvation Army have been stopping by regularly to offer food and drinks. She said they appreciated the things they received from those organizations but eventually they didn’t need their help anymore.

“People keep bringing food so we told them to give it to someone who needs it more,” Dunn said.

They said they’re thankful no one was hurt, and even no animals were hurt. Dunn said they do have a cat and five kittens with no home because of the barn they lost. She said they’d love to find a good home for the cats because they’re currently staying in their garage.

Wayne and Dunn have been living in their house even though it has roof and water damage. They plan to live in a trailer during the summer months while their house gets repaired. Dunn and Wayne both said their property already looks better than it did immediately after the storm, but there’s much more work to do.

“Early in the day it seems overwhelming,” Wayne said. “But at night after working all day it makes you feel better.”