(Photo: Great Plains Severe Weather Team)
The May 6th, 2015 Roseland Tornado Story
What started out as an effort to collect a list of damages to everyone's property in Roseland has turned into a more important collection. People really want their tornado stories to be heard, so we are contacting everyone to get permission to post them on this website and on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/roseland.nebraska), and we will be posting their stories in installments as we speak with everyone, so check back frequently to read more. The first installment is where the tornado began, at the John and Cindy Parr farm.
John and Cindy Parr: John and Cindy live two miles south of Roseland on Monument Road. The tornado touched down very close to their farm, and began its path of destruction by taking out their cattle lots and cattle sheds. One cow died instantly, and they think the tornado may have come down right on top of her. All of the cattle were congregated in the lot waiting to be fed and the tornado went right through the herd. Several more cattle had to be euthanized afterwards, and even more of John and Cindy’s cattle were severely injured and left unable to care for their calves. More of these injured cattle may have to be put down in the coming days. Cindy was home at the time and saw the tornado coming. She went to the basement quickly and was safe there. John wasn’t home, and Cindy firmly believes if he had been that he would have went out into lot to try to scatter the herd to get them out of the way because that’s how much he loves his cattle. Cindy described the heartbreaking scene after the tornado with dead and injured cattle all over, and the babies crying for their mamas, unable to find them. John and Cindy’s roof on their house was damaged, and some of their farm buildings and equipment were destroyed, but it’s the loss of part of their cattle herd that bothers them the most.
Orville Johnson: Orville’s farmstead is directly north across the road from the John and Cindy Parr farm. Many of the structures from the John and Cindy Parr farm were thrown into Orville’s yard and at his house, and the roof of his house was damaged. Orville has a large collection of antiques and collectibles on his farm, and many of those items were completely destroyed by the tornado and tossed into the field north of his farmhouse. Orville was driving towards his farmstead when he saw the tornado touch down near John and Cindy Parr’s farm, and he tried to get to his house to take shelter but didn’t make it in time. He was in his pick up in his driveway when the tornado hit, and his vehicle was picked up off the ground by the tornado then slammed back down, all while he was inside of it. Miraculously, he was uninjured. Orville's son Jayson came to help him the night of the tornado, and he said he's only seen his dad cry twice in his life, and the night of the tornado was one of them. Orville had many chickens, turkeys, and ducks on his farm that were also killed by the tornado, and several of his farm buildings and sheds were destroyed. At this time Orville’s roof is not completely water tight and he does not have electricity at the house, but he is still living there because that is his home and he’s lived there most of his life.
Chuck and Jolene Koos: The sirens were sounded in Roseland when the tornado was about 1 mile south of town. Everyone who heard the sirens can tell you exactly where they were when they heard them. After moving north from John and Cindy Parr and Orville Johnson’s farms, the tornado crossed Pony Express Road 1 mile south of Roseland. It appeared to stall and then briefly turned east towards Neil Hemberger’s house. Neil had a broken window and some corn stalks that were driven into the shingles of his house with such force that they were sticking straight up in the air out of his roof. For a brief moment the tornado had two vortexes, and when they combined, the tornado suddenly shifted back on a quicker northward path towards Roseland. Chuck and Jolene Koos live on Highway 74 on the southeast side of Roseland. Their attached garage was completely destroyed and their house had broken windows and roof damage. Two of their vehicles were also heavily damaged. Chuck was home and had just stepped outside to go get the newspaper when he looked up and saw the tornado to the south of Roseland. He ran back inside and went quickly to the basement. Many of the items in Chuck and Jolene’s garage flew north into the ball field area and even farther towards the railroad tracks in town. Chuck’s bowling ball landed close to the railroad tracks, travelling about 400 yards in the air before it landed. Several other large items from their garage also flew that far. Chuck and Jolene will both tell you that their possessions that were destroyed were just material objects, but we know that some of them had sentimental value, like Jolene’s childhood bike that was crumpled in a pile and hauled away with other debris before she could salvage it. Chuck and Jolene are worried about the long-term structural integrity of their house after the garage was ripped away from it.Andrew and Erin Trausch: Andrew and Erin live on Highway 74 on the southeast side of Roseland. The roof on Andrew and Erin’s house was ripped completely off by the tornado, and their garage was destroyed. Many of their possessions were blown away or ruined by the insulation, glass and rainwater that fell into their house after the storm. Their vehicles at the house at the time all sustained significant damage or were totally destroyed. Erin and her daughter Joslynn had been out dancing in the light rain before the tornado formed south of town. When the rained increased in intensity, they went in the house. At about this same time, family friend and trained storm spotter Dan Heuertz had been driving west towards Holstein and ran into a hail storm and some dark clouds. Not wanting his pick up to sustain hail damage, Dan turned around and drove back east to Roseland, where the sky was much lighter. As Dan drove into Roseland on Highway 74, he looked south and saw the tornado on the ground. Knowing Andrew would still be at work and Erin would probably be at home with the kids, he stopped at their house. Erin met him at the door because by this time, she had also seen the tornado on the ground about 2 miles to the south. Dan and Erin watched and video recorded the tornado from the front yard as it seemed to stall and turn east. They also have the second vortex developing and joining the larger vortex on video. Once the tornado shifted back north and picked up speed they realized it was coming straight towards Roseland, and they moved to take cover in the basement. After Dan got Erin and Joslynn to the basement safely, he ran back upstairs one last time to see where the tornado was. He looked south and it was about ½ mile away from town at that time. He was looking straight at a tornado that was coming straight for him. He ran back to the basement and in a few seconds it hit. Power was cut and then they heard the roar of the tornado. Their ears popped and the pressure in their heads was immense as it passed over. When it was over, there was complete silence. They stepped out of the room in the basement where they had taken cover, and everything in the basement was just as it had been before. But when they went upstairs and looked up, the roof to the house was gone. Andrew and Erin’s family of 7 is living with two different people in Roseland until they can find a more permanent place to live while they build a new house. They plan on building in the same location. The video of the tornado that was recorded on Erin’s phone can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/erin.trausch/videos/10205658408292495/
Update: Andrew and Erin's story has an update worth reading: Bless You, Inc. and Duane Drost
Samantha Cochran: Samantha Cochran lives on Clark Street on the east side of Roseland. The garage next to her house was picked up and landed a few feet north of where it had sat, crumpled and leaning on the house. Samantha and her son A.J. were at the Pinnacle Bank location in Roseland at the time of the tornado. Others at the bank at that time were Key and Brenda Monroe and Dave Bruggeman. They took shelter in the bank vault when they heard the sirens in town going off. Dave looked out the windows of the bank before he went to the vault and saw the tornado on the southeast side of town.
Shirley Storm: Shirley lives right next door to Samantha Cochran to the east. Shirley’s house has roof damage and she owns the house Samantha Cochran lives in where the garage was destroyed. The garage twisted off the foundation and continued to move and shift overnight after the storm. Shirley and Samantha both have a storm plan to go north to Anna Eckhardt and Amy Warburton’s house if there is ever a tornado so they can take shelter in her basement. Shirley was watching TV the day of the tornado and because of the severe weather threat for the day, she was watching the local channels to keep tabs on the weather. She heard on TV that there was a tornado south of Roseland, so she went to her patio doors and looked out and straight to the south she could see a funnel cloud. She grabbed an umbrella and went north to Anna and Amy’s house, and met Amy at the door as the sirens started to sound. They looked out the window and they could see the swirling cloud of debris coming. They went to basement right just as electricity was lost and the lights went out. Shirley said it didn’t seem like they were in the basement very long at all and everything was over.
Anna Eckhardt, Amy Warburton and Travis Cantrell: Anna Eckhardt, her daughter Amy, and Amy’s fiancé Travis live just north of Shirley Storm on Roseland Ave on the east side of Roseland. Their garage door was mangled, and Anna's van was damaged in the storm. Amy was driving home from work and nearly to her house when she saw the tornado on the ground south of Roseland. She pulled into her driveway and ran into the house and yelled at her family to get into the basement; they had no idea there was a tornado heading towards town. Also at Amy’s house at that time was Tara Blythe and her young son. While everyone went to the basement, Amy headed outside to go get her neighbor Shirley to make sure she got to safety, but Shirley was already on her way over and they met at the door. After the tornado passed over them, Travis went upstairs to look around and he started yelling because of the damage he saw to the west at Vivian Muhs’s house. Travis and Tara both went to Vivian’s wreckage of a home to see how she was and what they had to do to help her out of her house.
Roseland Ball Field: After passing over Chuck and Jolene Koos’s and Andrew and Erin Trausch’s house, the tornado deposited much of the debris from those two properties onto the football field and baseball field. The ball fields are on the south side of Church Street on the east side of town. The park, football field, baseball field, and track area were devastated. Several light poles and lights were destroyed. The softball and baseball equipment shed was destroyed, and much of the equipment was scattered across the ball field and across town. The dugouts and backstop were ruined and will need to be replaced. The bleachers were tossed into the air and landed in crumpled piles on the ground. The scoreboard detached and landed on the football field in pieces and the poles that held it up are now bent over at 90 degree angles. The goal posts on the football field were mangled. The Roseland baseball and softball teams are practicing in the neighboring town of Holstein until the field is usable, and more than likely they will not be able to play any home games this summer. Just across the street from the ball field area, Orville and E.J. Kothe had a farm machinery shed on the north side of Church Street that was destroyed, and pieces of it were strewn across town and into the fields north of Roseland as well. This is where Kelly Timm first saw the tornado - as it hit this building and was moving straight towards her house.
Scott and Kelly Timm: Scott and Kelly live on Clark Street on the east side of town. Their house sustained significant roof damage, broken windows, and their auto body shop building next to their house had the roof pulled off in places. Scott and Kelly were both home at the time of the tornado. Kelly heard a strange sound and looked outside to the south to see Eric Parr's grain trailer tumbling across the railroad tracks toward their house, along with the Kothe shed being destroyed by the tornado. She said the building looked like it exploded into the air when the tornado hit it. Scott and Kelly went to the basement just in time. After the tornado passed they immediately went to check on their niece and her young daughter who live nearby, but as soon as they got to the alley, they saw that Vivan Muhs’s house was in shambles and had been moved off the foundation several yards north, with debris everywhere around it. Fearing the worst, Scott yelled for his next door neighbor Waylon Johnson and they rushed to Vivian’s house to help her. Scott and Kelly’s roof leaked again in the rains that came on Saturday night. Their house took a big hit by the tornado and debris, and they are worried about it’s long term structural stability at this time.
Vivian Muhs: Vivian Muhs lives on Clark Street on the east side of Roseland. Her entire house was lifted off of the foundation and shoved several yards to the north and destroyed. Most of the roof was lifted off the house. Piles of debris landed in the basement and most of her possessions were destroyed. Her garage was also destroyed and her vehicle was inside of it. Vivian was home at the time of the tornado. She was watching TV and heard the tornado warning for Roseland on TV and then heard the sirens sounding shortly after. She went to a bedroom to look out a west window, but didn’t see anything. She then took shelter in a main floor bathroom because she was unable to navigate the stairs to get to the basement. She tried to get into the bathtub but the tornado hit before she could get there and she was pushed to the bathroom floor. She said there was no time to even think; there was a big roar and the tornado hit. The bathroom where Vivian took shelter was one of the few areas on the main floor where the roof did not collapse. Had she been in the basement she most certainly would have been buried under the debris that landed in it after the house blew off the foundation. The bathroom she was in was probably the only room she could have been safe in, and she was miraculously uninjured in the ordeal. Several neighbors came to Vivian’s house right after the tornado passed through, including Scott and Kelly Timm, Waylon Johnson, Travis Cantrell, and Tara Blythe. They yelled for her but didn’t hear a reply, so they were hoping that maybe she wasn’t home, but then they realized that her car was in the garage and she had to be inside the house. Vivian says the first person she heard yelling her name was her neighbor Kelly Timm, and she yelled back to tell her she was inside and OK. Scott, Waylon and Travis had kick the door in to get inside the house, where they found Vivian in the bathroom where she had taken cover. Vivian moved to Good Samaritan Village in Hastings the day after the tornado, and she would like to move to Kearney to be closer to her son Jason Recroft. She will miss everyone in Roseland, but she thinks God must have been trying to tell her it’s time to move. The town of Roseland will miss Vivian as well, and we all are thankful that Vivian was unharmed.
Jeremy and Heather Nabower: Jeremy and Heather live on Davis Street on the east side of Roseland. Heather was at work at PaC2 Daycare in Hastings when the tornado hit. They were told that Hastings was in a tornado warning, even though the sirens hadn't sounded, so they took all the kids into the basement to wait it out. She grabbed her cell so she could text Jeremy and tell him she was safe, but she would be late getting home. Jeremy was trying to call Heather at the same time to tell her to stay in Hastings a little while longer, till the weather had passed, but they don't get very good service in the basement at PaC2 so she didn’t get his call. When they came upstairs, a parent came in and said that Roseland had been hit by a tornado on the east side of town. Roseland resident Alissa Ehrman also works at PaC2, and she and Heather were talking about what side of town the Ehrman house is on, when Heather realized that her house is on the east side. Heather said her hands were shaking so badly that she was barely able to call Jeremy and the boys to check on them. Jeremy and the boys were home when the tornado hit. Jeremy said that it had gotten eerily calm outside, and Heather’s dad called to tell them there was a tornado headed for Roseland. As soon as he got off the phone, the windows started shaking violently. He yelled at their two boys Taylor and Landon to get downstairs (and according to Heather, when Jeremy yells to get downstairs, you know it's serious!), but Landon took a little more coaxing. He was worried about the dogs because they refused to go down. They were in the basement for maybe a minute when Taylor said his ears popped and a sound like a freight train came roaring over the house. They tried to figure out where the water leaking into the basement could be from, then the tornado was over. Heather and Jeremy say they feel incredibly lucky. They lost half a tree that missed their house by just inches when it fell, and the top of another tree broke off and landed on the fence on the other side of the yard. Those two trees, and maybe a third, will have to come down, and they lost three sides of the fence that surrounded their yard, and a storm window. There was also some very slight damage to portions of their roof and shingles. Heather also wanted to mention that when she and Taylor were walking around after the tornado, they ran into a boy from Taylor's Boy Scout troop (Troop 207 in Hastings). Drew Reed is a 17-year-old from Juniata. He heard what had happened to our community, jumped in his car, and just started helping the first people he saw when he got to Roseland.
Holden and Cole Zubrod: Holden and Cole live on Davis Street on the east side of Roseland, just east of their uncle Jeremy Nabower. Their house had a broken window and some damage to the porch. Cole’s pickup was in the driveway and it sustained damage as well, with windows being broken out and glass all over the inside. Cole was home at the time of the tornado, and Jeremy tried to call him to tell him to take cover, but Cole didn’t get to his phone to answer it in time. Right after Jeremy called him, Cole heard the noise of the tornado and he heard the window on the house shattering. He ran as fast as he could to the bathroom, yanked the door closed behind him, and jumped into the bathtub. As he was taking cover in the bathtub, he said he could see and hear the bathroom door shaking and rattling as the tornado passed over their house. An avid fan of the movie “Twister,” Cole initially swore off ever watching the movie again after the tornado came through, but later that night abandoned that stance and watched it one more time, dedicating his first post-tornado “Twister” viewing to Bill Paxton. During the tornado, in Cole’s words, “I felt just like Bill Paxton, right in the suck zone.” (Side note: when we talked to Cole about his experience in the tornado, he didn’t mention the movie “Twister” or Bill Paxton to us; we saw that information on his Facebook page and thought it was worth including in his story. A lot of people’s stories include lighthearted or humorous pieces that aren’t meant in any way to downplay the immense loss that some residents experienced. In the hours and days after the tornado, there was a tangible feeling of thankfulness that all of the people in town were uninjured. Several conversations about this were had on Thursday during clean up, wondering what the overall mood of the town would have been like if somebody had been hurt or killed. We are still so thankful we have everyone here to share these stories with us.)
Justin and Jessica Menke: Justin and Jessica Menke live on Davis Street on the east side of Roseland. Almost all of the windows in their house were shattered, and some of the walls are bent. They also believe the roof was lifted and twisted. They are unsure at this time if it will be inhabitable for them in the future at all. They have moved in with Jessica’s parents for now because of the structural uncertainty and because of the vast amount of broken glass inside their home. The back wall of their garage was also ripped away in the tornado and that structure is unusable anymore, and a shed in their yard was also destroyed. Justin and Jessica weren’t home when the tornado hit; Jessica was on her way home from work and Justin was on a service call. Jessica was driving home when she heard on the radio that there was a tornado that would be hitting Roseland at 4:20, so she called Justin to see what he thought she should do. Before he could reply, the call dropped. They tried to call each other back a few times, but every time Justin tried to tell her what he thought, the call would drop again. She ended up driving straight to Roseland, and she said she can replay the moments in her mind as she drove into town, trying to get to her house. She’s pretty sure she drove over tree limbs trying to navigate the streets in town. She turned into town on Alexander Street and then south on Sherman Ave towards her house, but she couldn’t get to her driveway because of the trees and debris. She parked in the street and got out and looked around and decided to try to get to her house from the other direction. When she approached from the south, she saw that the garage was nearly falling over and that the shed was gone, too. Jessica’s brother and sister-in-law pulled up at about the same time, and they decided to keep the kids in the car. Justin and Jessica and their children haven’t been able to stay in their house since the tornado. As time goes on, the house seems to settle and twist even more, and now there is a basement wall bowing out, too. Justin and Jessica are still waiting for their insurance company to let them know how they need to proceed at this time.
Dan and Denise Hitchcock: Dan and Denise live on Davis Street on the east side of Roseland. Denise was at work when she got the phone call that a tornado had hit their house. Dan and Denise had several trees in their yard that were damaged, along with damage to their house. Denise very quickly downplays the damage to her property, saying it’s nothing like losing your entire house. When she thinks back about the number of people she saw coming down the streets to help everyone on the east side of town, it moves her to tears every time. The damage to the trees, windows, and the house will be forgotten over time, but Denise said she will never forget that mass of people from the community walking down the streets to get to the people on the east side of Roseland who needed help. She said the whole experience was very humbling and she is so thankful she lives in Roseland. Like many other people who live in Roseland, Denise cares very deeply about this town, its residents, and its future.
Waylon Johnson: Waylon lives on Davis Street on the east side of Roseland. His house sustained roof damage that he had to board up the night of the tornado, and the siding was damaged as well. Waylon has a metal building that is to the south of his house, and the roof was damaged on this building as well, leading to water damage from the rain getting in. Waylon believes that this metal building and his garage took the brunt of the hit from the tornado and spared his house from more serious damage. Waylon also owns two other houses on the east side of Roseland that were damaged; one is the house that Holden and Cole Zubrod live in, and the other house is across the street to the north of Waylon’s house. That property also sustained significant damage, with the garage and a shed being completely destroyed and blown away. The wall on the south side of that house is also buckled; that wall would have taken the brunt of the tornado as it came from the south. Waylon was home when the tornado came through. He was trying to take a nap when he heard the tornado sirens in town. He turned the TV on for a brief moment but quickly decided it was best to go downstairs and take cover. He heard the tornado go over, and after it passed he came upstairs quickly to see what had happened. He immediately heard his neighbor Scott Timm yelling his name. He came outside and saw Vivian Muhs’s house, and along with the others there, they rushed to break down the door to get inside to make sure Vivian was OK. When collecting the stories from everyone, all of the people involved in the immediate search for Vivian after the tornado remember those moments vividly, and it’s very obvious that the part of their story where they find Vivian inside and unharmed takes importance over any of the damages on their own properties.
Stacey Strong: Stacey Strong lives on Davis Street on the east side of Roseland. Her roof was severely damaged and her house also had several broken windows and there is a cracked wall inside. A lot of the damage to Stacey’s house was caused by the large amount of debris in that area. Stacey was at work in Hastings when the tornado hit. They were listening to the radio had heard Roseland was in a tornado warning. A co-worker who also lives in Roseland pulled her aside to tell her that Vivian Muhs’s house had been hit, but she hadn’t heard anything about Stacey’s house. Stacey knew her daughter and her mom were safe because they were at CCD class in Assumption three miles north of Roseland, and the teachers had texted parents letting them know all of the kids were OK. She was still worried about her dad (Chuck Koos), though, because she knew he was at home in Roseland, and she was worried about her house and her dog as well. She described the drive home from work as the longest drive of her life. Her first feelings when she saw her house were of relief because at least she had a house, even if it did sustain considerable damage. Stacey said she was more upset that night for those that had more significant damage or lost their houses, but more than anything she is thankful no one was hurt and she is so very proud of how everyone came together as a community and how they continue to come together in the aftermath. Stacey’s house also took quite a hit in the tornado, and she is worried about the long-term structural stability of her house.
Olen and Mary Ann Loeffler: Olen and Mary Ann live on the north side of Davis Street on the east edge of Roseland. Their house had shingles damaged and their garage had damage to it from a tree falling on it. Their gill and some of their other outdoor items were broken when they were tossed around by the tornado, and their garage door is bowed as well. Mary Ann was home when the tornado hit. She had the TV on and heard them say on TV that there was a tornado near Roseland. She looked outside and could see debris flying past the house, so she ran to the basement as fast as she could. She felt like she no more than got there and then the tornado was gone. She described the silence following the tornado as eerie, and she said if she had looked out her south windows she is sure she would have seen the tornado coming and she is afraid it might have scared her to death. Mary Ann said that she feels very lucky compared to others because her house didn’t have a lot of major damage to it like some did. She also wanted to express her gratitude to all of the volunteers who came to assist during the hours and days following the tornado. She found it amazing to see all of the people out helping everyone, young and old alike. It warms her heart to think about how our community and the surrounding communities are so caring. Mary Ann wanted to make sure to commend all of those who have helped in any way.
Jerry and Christy Davis: Jerry and Christy Davis live on Roseland Avenue on the east edge of Roseland. They lost their garage in the tornado; it was a two stall metal building, and it went flying to the neighbor’s yard. The garage had been facing east, but when it dropped it was facing west, with part of it in a tree. They also had a shed that was destroyed, and all of the contents inside both the garage and the shed were destroyed as well. They had a lot of items stored in both buildings, but they were only able save a few of them. A lot of items that were lost had sentimental value, and Christy was storing them so she could pass them on to her children someday. Their house also had some roof damage. Christy had been playing at park with her grandson in Hastings when an alert came on her phone about possible tornados in the area, so she took grandson home. As she was getting ready to leave Hastings, she saw on TV that there was a tornado heading towards Roseland. She contacted an Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy who is a friend of hers, and he told her to stay in Hastings for the time being and that he was on the way to Roseland and he would call her when he knew more. He called her later and told her there was good news and bad news: the good news was her house was still there, and the bad news was that her garage and shed and all of the contents were gone. She stayed in Hastings for a while waiting for the power to come back on in Roseland, and then she returned home, but she was unable to salvage much of her possessions that were in the garage and shed. Christy said she can’t figure out how the tornado could destroy the big garage with metal beams but leave a small camper right next to it untouched and unmoved. She also found it odd that her garbage dumpster was still there and had barely moved; it had been sitting right next to the garage before the tornado hit. Christy has a brother in Oklahoma, an aunt in Florida, a sister in Iowa and a sister in Lincoln and they all found out about the tornado on TV or on the Internet yet that night. She wants the townspeople of Roseland to know that she was amazed by all of the help and that she enjoyed meeting so many people who came to help. She also wants everyone to know that she appreciates everything that everyone did during the clean up process.
Don and Frances Klein: Don and Frances Klein live on Davis Street on the east side of Roseland. By all outward appearances, their house was somehow spared from being damaged by the tornado, but Don explained that the damage is still there, even though it’s hard to see. The southeast corner of the roof of Don and Frances’s house loose, and Don believes the rafters underneath were probably pulled loose the by the tornado. He thinks they were probably close to having the entire roof pulled off the house, and he is very thankful that the roof is still there and not leaking. He is sure they will have to open up that corner of the roof to have it repaired. Don and Frances were both home at the time of the tornado. Their son Kevin called them right before the tornado hit, and Don answered the phone. Kevin asked Don if he was in the basement, and Don replied, “No, I’m in the kitchen,” thinking that was an odd question to be asking. Then Kevin yelled, “What the hell are you doing in the kitchen? There’s a tornado heading straight for Roseland!” Don hung up the phone quickly and ran to the front door and opened it, and in Don’s words, “There that tornado was, looking me right in the eye.” He and Frances headed to the basement as fast as they could, but they were only halfway down the steps when they heard the debris starting to hit the house. Don said everything happened so fast, and he didn’t think it was possible for that much to happen in such a short amount of time.
Erin Brittain Household: Erin Brittain lives on the north side of Davis street on the east side of town. Her brother John and her boyfriend Chris Springer live there as well. Their house sustained major damage in the tornado. About half of roof was damaged or tore off, four windows were blownout, the garage was destroyed, their fence was ruined, and several other outdoor items were damaged or destroyed. Two vehicles that were there when the tornado hit were also majorly damaged and aren’t usable right now. Chris and his son Brandon, and Erin’s two daughters were home at the time of the tornado. They heard the sirens going off in town and looked outside to see debris in the air, so Chris and Brandon quickly took the girls to safety in the basement. Erin’s house appeared to be hit by a lot of flying debris and she has a picture of a trampoline spring embedded in one of her trees as well as a brick that was driven into the ground in her yard. Erin’s house also took quite a hit in the tornado, and she is another homeowner in town who is worried about the long-term structural stability of her house after this ordeal.
Jim and Janice Amack: Jim and Janice Amack live on Davis Street on the east side of Roseland. Their house had a broken window in the basement, their shutters were damaged or torn off, their siding was damaged and their air conditioning unit outside was damaged. They had a motor home parked on their property that also had a broken window, and there was a broken window on their garage as well. Janice said their lawn literally has holes in it from the forcefulness of the debris as it hit the ground. She also mentioned that they don’t have any trees on their property but they ended up with quite a few after the tornado. Jim and Janice were both home at the time of the tornado. They were sitting at a table putting a puzzle together with the TV on when they heard that there was a tornado warning for Roseland. Jim went to door to look outside and at that time they heard the tornado sirens start to sound. Jim told Janice to go downstairs and for a while they argued back and forth about going downstairs until Jim finally yelled at Janice, “Get your #$@&-ing butt downstairs!” Then they could see the debris starting to fly around outside, and Janice said she doesn’t think she’s ever moved so fast as she was trying to get downstairs. Their ears were popping and they heard a loud noise and then it was over. Jim and Janice were so impressed with the people from town and from outside the community who came to help clean everything up, just going from one house to another. Janice also recalled a story from a previous storm experience when her elderly mother was living in Roseland on her own. There were warnings for the Roseland area, so Janice called her mom and told her to get in the closet and to take the phone with her, and she would call her when it was safe to come out. The storms didn’t amount to much, but Janice forgot to call her mom, who sat in the closet with the phone waiting for her call for quite some time.Patrick and Shannon Hinrichs: Patrick and Shannon Hinrichs live on Roseland Avenue on the east edge of Roseland. They lost one tree in their yard and half of another. They also had one tree limb go through the garage, but nothing inside was damaged. Some of the shingles on their house were also damaged or torn off. This was their family’s second tornado experience, and they already had a gigantic fear of severe weather. Their first brush with a tornado was a monstrous F4 that they were lucky enough to out run, hitting about 1.5 miles outside of where they had taken shelter in Kansas City. Shannon had heard about the tornado watch for our area on May 6th, so she had texted Kristen and told her she was to go straight home after school and that she would try to get off work as soon as possible. Shannon isn’t exactly sure what time she left Hastings for Roseland that afternoon, but she remembers getting to Adams Central road before she drove into any rain. The closer she got to Roseland the heavier the rain got. Shannon says when the weather is bad she does not listen to the radio while she is driving so she can focus on the road, so she did not hear anything about the tornado near Roseland on the way home that day. She didn’t notice anything strange with the sky, surely nothing that made her think there was danger of a tornado, and she actually felt bad for leaving work early.
When Shannon arrived at home, her daughter Kristen was in the kitchen doing the dishes and they asked each other how their days had been. She had been home for about five minutes when the weather radio went off and said the tornado was south of Roseland and was headed this way. Kristen and Shannon looked at each other and went into action. Shannon started gathering things she knew she could never replace in case the tornado hit the house, like pictures, angels her kids had bought her over the years, the praying hands Kristen just finished in copper, her grandmother's picture and doll, and some other things out of her china hutch, and they put them in their storm shelter. She came back upstairs for her family photos and albums she could grab. She tried to grab the cat but she clawed at Shannon and ran off. Kristen and Stella the dog had gone downstairs, but the dog got out and ran upstairs under a bed. A minute or so passed, and Kristen came back upstairs, panicking about Stella who was now under the bed upstairs and refusing to come out. Shannon told Kristen to get back downstairs, but she argued, saying she wasn’t going anywhere without her dog. Shannon finally got ahold of Stella to get her downstairs with Kristen. On her third trip upstairs to try and grab photos off the walls she actually heard the tornado coming, and she could also faintly hear the tornado sirens. She told Kristen it was here, and they shut the door and sat down on the little couch they have in the storm shelter.
There is a vent that goes from their storm shelter and extends to about three feet above ground, and as the tornado went by all they could hear was the deafening noise coming down the vent. Within seconds the power flickered once, came back on for one second and then was gone. The noise grew louder. Kristen and Shannon embraced so tightly and prayed. Shannon said she usually would have been panicking at this point, but instead she was strangely calm. After the noise was gone it fell silent, very silent. It was pitch black, and Stella was between Kristen and Shannon, shaking like a leaf. All Kristen and Shannon could do was hug each other and thank God. Shannon looked out her basement window towards the Journey's house and started to cry because of the devastation she could see. She ran upstairs and that is when she saw they had lost a tree in their yard; the noise of the tornado was so loud the never heard the tree hit the deck attached to their house. Shannon started walking to the homes that were damaged to make sure everyone was out and OK. It wasn’t until she walked back to her own house later on that she noticed all of the downed power lines; she said she had to have been walking right over them earlier. Kristen had also gone out to start checking on neighbors. Shannon’s husband Patrick was also trying to get home when the tornado hit, but he was stopped at the train tracks at Highway 6 in Hastings. Shannon said he may have driven right into it if hadn’t have been held up there.
Shannon can’t believe how two houses just to the south of theirs lost so much and yet the tornado skated through their yard, hardly touching a thing. She didn’t want us to even mention their property damages because she felt they were so minor compared to other people’s losses. Shannon said she feels so sorry for any of the families that are displaced right now, and she prays that they get their homes rebuilt quickly. She was saddened to hear that Vivian won’t be living in Roseland anymore, but happy to hear she will be close to her son. She also believes that had that tornado been an F2, F3, or stronger, there may not even be a Roseland anymore, and we could have all been displaced. She thanks God it was only an F1, and she prays to please keep any further ones away. She has seen enough.
Patrick and Shannon moved their family to Roseland 11 years ago. They just happened to be driving though and saw the “For Sale by Owner Sign” in the yard at their home here. She knew when she saw that sign that this is where she wanted to plant her roots. They instantly fell in love with their house and this town. Shannon did research on the school and she knew that is where she wanted my kids to not only attend school but to graduate from as well. In Shannon’s words, “This town is so beautiful.”
CHS Agri Service Center Employees: CHS Agri Service Center is on Main Street (Lincoln Avenue) in Roseland. The employees were at work when the tornado hit. Andy Klein, Dalton Davis and Chace Lutz were working outside when they saw the tornado south of town. They came running into the office and yelled to Ashley Trausch that they needed to get downstairs because there was a tornado coming. Ashley didn’t believe them. According the Ashley, the guys joke around a lot, and this seemed like another one of their pranks. She was sure they were just trying to get her to panic about a tornado for no reason. Andy, Dalton and Chace convinced Ashley to step outside to see it for herself, and seeing is believing. It was at this time, as they were standing in Main Street looking south, that Dalton Davis took out his phone and snapped the now iconic photo of the Roseland tornado. The sirens started to sound and they all ran back to the office and took cover in the basement bathroom. They were down there for about 5 to 10 minutes; they heard the roar of the tornado, their ears popped, and then it was silent. When they stepped outside it was raining and to the south it was clear but they could still see the dark cloud to the north. They could hear screams coming from the southeast side of town. Ashley first went to check on her grandmother, who lives on the north side of town, west of Main Street, in a part of town that wasn’t hit. Then she went to survey the damage at her house, which is just west of the ball field. The trampoline in her yard was wrapped about a pole at the ball field, the south side of her garage wall had been sucked out, and her garage doors were twisted and caved in.
Marshall and Kate Glebe: Marshall and Kate Glebe live on Alexander Street on the northeast side of Roseland. They had damage to the siding on their house, some tree damage, and their small garage was twisted. Marshall and Kate were not home at the time of the tornado; they were both still at work in Hastings. Some of Kate’s co-workers told her that there was a tornado heading towards Roseland, and shortly after that she started to get phone calls and text messages saying the tornado had in fact gone through Roseland. When they got home that night, they stood and stared at everything destroyed all around their block and realized that just a few yards difference would have meant much more substantial property damage for them. They went to their neighbors to start helping them clean up, and Marshall took the day off work the next day to help everyone clean up. Kate said they feel lucky that the damage to their house was minimal.
Jim and Sheri Dykeman: Jim and Sheri Dykeman live on Roseland Avenue and their house is the farthest northeast home in Roseland. They had a broken window, some roof and gutter damage, and their chimney was ripped off. Several bricks from the chimney were pulled off and poked holes in their roof as they tumbled to the ground. They also had a lot of holes in their yard from the debris, and a spruce tree was broken off and speared into the ground. Jim and Sheri were not home at the time the tornado hit; they were both at work. Sheri had left work and stopped shop by her husband’s work to talk to him, and it was there that they saw on TV that there was a tornado near Roseland. Then they got some phone calls saying that the east end of town had been hit, and it took a second to process, but they realized their house was on the east end of town. They felt the need to get home as fast as they could to find out how bad it was, so they left Hastings right away, driving in separate vehicles. A friend had called their son and said that their house was at least still there, and they had already heard there weren’t any injuries or deaths, so they were thankful for that. They talked on their cell phones to each other on the way home to reassure themselves that whatever was there, they could deal with it. They got back to Roseland by 5:00 and there was already a crew at Marge Parr’s helping with her destroyed garage, and there were people everywhere helping other people. Sheri said she was so thankful everyone was OK and all of the clean up help was amazing, just people working as fast as they could so they could move on to go help others.
Trent and Mindy Schmidt: Trent and Mindy Schmidt live on Roseland Avenue on the east edge of Roseland. Their house had two broken windows and damaged shingles, gutters, and siding. They also lost an outdoor shed and their swing set in their backyard. Mindy and her youngest daughter were home at the time of the tornado. The evening before the tornado, Trent and Mindy’s youngest daughter had fallen off of their swing set in the backyard, and she broke her arm in four places. After spending the night at the hospital with her, Mindy and her daughter had only been home for a few hours when the tornado hit. Mindy was trying to sleep when her mom called to make sure they were in the basement. Mindy was instantly irritated that her mom would be calling and waking her up because she knew they had no sleep the night before. When her mom told her the sirens were sounding and there was a tornado warning, she heard something hit a window, so she grabbed her daughter and they ran to the basement. As soon as they came upstairs, they could see that the swing set and shed were gone, as well as the damage all around their neighborhood. According to Mindy, the good news is that nobody will fall off of that swing set ever again, because less than 24 hours after her daughter broke her arm on it, the tornado blew it away.
Dale and Gwen Journey: Dale and Gwen Journey live on Alexander Street on the northeast side of Roseland. Their house had roof damage and some shattered windows, including their patio doors. Dale and Gwen were at work when the tornado hit, but their three sons were at home. When the sirens sounded, their middle son grabbed the youngest and took him downstairs as fast as he could. On their way to the basement, a window by the stairs shattered right as they were going by. Their oldest son ran to look outside when he heard the tornado sirens, and as he looked out, their trampoline took flight. He then grabbed their dogs from outside to take them to safety. Gwen was at work when a co-worker told her a tornado had hit the east side of Roseland. She rushed to check her phone and saw that there was a missed call from home. Fearing the worst, she called her sons and to her relief they told her they were all unhurt and just fine. Gwen was scheduled to work late in Hastings that evening, and when she asked her oldest son if there was any damage to their house, he didn’t want to worry her so he said there wasn’t. She was a bit surprised when she got home later that night to a hole in the roof and shattered patio doors, amongst other damage. Dale and Gwen had a six-foot long board that speared the roof of their house with such force that it was only left sticking out by a few inches. Dale said it was very close to breaking through the sheetrock on their ceiling. They also found another board in their yard that was sticking out by a few inches and when they dug it out, they discovered it was buried in the ground about three feet.
Dan and Cleo Mousel: Dan and Cleo Mousel live on Alexander Street on the northeast side of Roseland. Their house had roof damage, damage to the gutters, several broken windows, and their garage doors were damaged. They also had a board come through their home office window and land in their house. A lot of their outdoor items were ruined and there was glass everywhere. Cleo was at school with two other Silver Lake employees when the tornado hit. She just happened to look out a window and see the tornado to the south of town through a gap in some trees. She yelled for Gail Sinner, who in turn yelled for Rich Lemmerman, and the three of them watched the tornado for a moment and then they ran to take shelter in a locker room. Dan was at his AGP office when he got a phone call informing him that there was a tornado heading for Roseland. He immediately jumped in his pick-up and raced to the school to tell Cleo and the others to take cover. Cleo, Gail and Rich had already taken cover by then. The doors were locked so he couldn’t get in, and the sirens started to sound. He got back in his pickup and went home, and by the time he got there the tornado had already gone through town. Dan was driving north on Main Street as the tornado was moving north through town one block east of him.
Keith and Deb Dudley: Keith and Deb Dudley live on the northeast side of Roseland on Alexander Street. Two outbuildings behind their house were destroyed, one of which was very large. Their house had some roof and siding damage, and they lost 8 large trees in their yard. Deb said that house damage isn’t nearly as bad as could have been, and she made the comment that their trees sacrificed themselves to save the house. Deb was at home with daughter-in-law and two grandchildren when the tornado hit, and her husband and son were at work. They heard sirens and got into the bathroom to take shelter, and in Deb’s words, when the tornado came over them, “it was a terrifying ride.” They heard the tornado as it hit, and it sounded like it passed right over their house. They could also hear tons of trees and debris hitting their house as it passed over. After it was over and they came to look outside, they were in shock at the damage on their street and at how many of their trees were gone. Deb said the clean up crews that night and the next were a God-send. When they were first looking at all the damage right after the storm hit, all they could think is how in the world will we ever clean this up. Deb said words just can’t explain how it felt to have so many people who cared enough to come in and help them with tree removal.
Marge Parr: Marge Parr lives on Alexander Street on the northeast side of Roseland. Her garage was demolished by the tornado and her roof was lifted off the house and set back down. Many of her walls are cracked or bowed, and the ceiling also collapsed in places. Her house is uninhabitable anymore. Marge was home at the time of the tornado, and when she heard the tornado sirens, she took shelter in an interior part of her home with a pillow over her head. Although parts of the ceiling fell very close to where she was sitting, nothing fell on top of her. After she had survived the tornado unhurt, she looked at the wall behind her to realize she was sitting directly beneath a crucifix. The crucifix has special meaning to Marge as well; the priest who married Marge and her late husband Gene gave it to them as a wedding present many years ago. Marge and her family wanted to express their sincere appreciation to everyone who came to check on Marge after the tornado as well as all of those who helped secure the house that night and clean everything up the next day. They are all so thankful for the assistance they received from family, friends, and even complete strangers who came to help. They also wanted to send a special thank you to the Roseland Volunteer Fire Department for their actions immediately after the tornado, making sure everyone in town was safe and accounted for. Marge is living at Good Samaritan Village in Hastings at this time, and while her future plans are still unsure, she considers Roseland home and would like to return here to live. She would love to hear any kind words from friends and can be reached at 529 Lane G, Hastings, NE 68901.
Pete and Delores Meyer: Pete and Delores Meyer live on Sherman Ave on the northeast side of Roseland. Their house had some roof damage, a basement window blew in, and the storm windows on their front door shattered. Their camper was tossed into the side of the barn in their yard, and the fence in their yard was destroyed. Pete and Delores received the Code Red call from Adams County Emergency Management warning that there was a tornado in the area. Delores got up and closed the front door, and as she was doing so, they heard the tornado sirens start to sound. Delores went to the kitchen to grab her purse and phone quickly, and then went to the basement to take shelter. Pete stood at back door and watched outside until he saw the tornado coming, and then he shut the door quickly and went to basement as well. The siren stopped sounding and the lights went out. They heard it go over the top of the house, and then there was total silence. After a moment, they came upstairs to check everything out. Delores said they feel fortunate the damage to their property wasn’t any worse. She also said their garbage dumpster took flight in the tornado and still hasn’t been found.
Chris and Renee Sluka: Chris and Renee Sluka live on Sherman Ave on the northeast side of Roseland. They had damage to their windows and the frames, siding, gutters, trees, landscaping, and a shed in their yard. They also had minor roof damage, and their fences are gone and their car was totaled. Renee came home from work that day not feeling well, took some medicine and crawled into bed planning to sleep until morning. Chris came home soon after. Seconds later their son, Ryan, called warning them that a tornado was spotted two miles from Roseland and they needed to get in the basement. Renee said that Chris didn’t even have time to wander outside and check the weather as he and their neighbor Pete Meyer usually do when bad weather is near. The town sirens started sounding as Renee debated if she should change back into respectable clothes just in case. Chris informed her there was no time for anything but to get downstairs NOW, and he quickly gathered up the cats. She headed downstairs alone trying to decide where to ride out the storm, settling on the hall with no windows. The electricity went out, the kitties found hiding places, and Renee sat down in the silence while Chris paced in the basement. Then they heard the sound of the tornado, and in Renee’s words, it was just like you hear in the movies. They heard glass break and what sounded like wood or metal hitting the house. It was all around them and Renee asked Chris if he thought they could possibly be in they eye of the tornado. When it became quiet again they waited, wondering if that was it or if they would again hear the same sounds from just seconds before. They both had no idea if they would even have a house when they went upstairs.
Renee sat frozen on the floor while Chris went upstairs and quickly said, “Oh nooooo, this is bad; we have a roof but someone’s building is on our car! You have to come see this; we need to go make sure everyone is OK!” Then Renee came upstairs and they headed out to check on their home and their neighbors. They quickly noticed that their neighbor to the north, Marge Parr, had some major damage and that her garage was gone. They could see that Vivian Muhs’s home wasn’t where it was supposed to be, so they sent some people who were driving by over to check on her to make sure she was OK while Chris and Renee went to check on Marge. They called their son and a sister on each side letting them know they were OK and to send the news down the family tree. After that it was a whirlwind of an evening while rescue units, the fire department, police, Red Cross and others started heading into town to assist. What was supposed to be a quiet night of sleeping and trying to feel better for Renee ended with a night of cleaning up, standing in the rain, phone calls, and checking on others. Ryan came to town with a friend and brought a stack of wood for their windows and to share with those in need. The boys began boarding up the windows and they all started picking up debris from the yard. At one point, Renee took a walk around their neighborhood and realized she wasn’t even thinking straight as she crossed over downed power lines not even thinking twice about if they were live wires or not. It was easy to see the path of the storm and sad to see the destruction. Renee quickly noticed that family had come to the aid of their loved ones already protecting their homes from the storm. Renee said they were lucky to have their son and his friend from Hastings help them, along with friends of the Hastings Tribune reporters who rode along and just started helping them and their neighbors that night. Renee also expressed how thankful she felt for the Southern Power crew, who worked late into the night in the rain to get power back on to the town.
By morning men from the local fire department were busy in their yard cutting down a damaged tree and gathering debris. It seemed everyone quickly found their place, moving wood and debris to the end of their yard and someone driving by with a truck or trailer and quickly picking it up and hauling it away. A group of strangers from Hastings spent hours in their yard helping them. Renee asked if they were with a certain group and they said, “Nope, we just hope someone would do the same for us!” Renee said their hearts were warmed many times following the storm and they are so thankful that no one was hurt. While they had some major damage, they feel their losses seemed like nothing in comparison to those who lost their homes or are unable to live in their homes. For Chris and Renee, people losing their homes is the saddest part, and knowing that some residents will relocate elsewhere and no longer be a part of Roseland is equally as sad. They have a lot of repair ahead of them like so many, and they said they have gone through a flood of emotions in the past week. However, today they are just feeling ‘thankful’!
The cost to clean up and repair for everyone in Roseland after this event will be significant. Please help our small town recover by making a donation; we really need all the assistance we can get at this point in time. Thank you. (http://www.unitedwayscne.org/index.php?id=135)