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Journey is long for families that lost homes

Over 350 homes were damaged or destroyed the night of the tornado.
That left a lot of families without a place to stay for an extended period of time. Some have moved on to different homes, some sold their land and left, and some are still trying to get insurance situations worked out a year after the event.
The Walz family just recently got into their new home, but it was after a hard year of recovery from the event. The family has battled through a lot, healing from injuries physical and emotional, trying to find a place to live, and really just trying to find some sort of normalcy in all the chaos the tornado caused. The mother, April Walz, even has a text chain with some other women that were affected by the tornado. They call themselves the Twister Sisters.
“In a blink of an eye, everything changed,” said April.
That evening when the tornado hit, her youngest son, Hudson, was believed to be sucked out of a room he was sleeping in and set down outside. His father Daniel went up there to look for him, but couldn’t find him. He told News Channel 5 at the time he thought he was gone, but started to yell for him. He heard his voice outside, he was in the yard on the side of the house. Their son Cayson was the calm one, telling everyone that they were OK, and that it was going to be fine.
“Honestly, I just woke up,” Cayson joked about how he dealt with the situation. “I didn’t think I was going to die, so I stayed calm.”
The family then moved to an AirBNB for a short time before friends found them a rental on a farm out on Highway 109. The family was used to living in a more suburban setting, but they made the best they could. Their sons got ATVs and dirtbikes, and their golden doodles had plenty of land to run around. April even befriended a local horse that she enjoyed feeding.
But it wasn’t home. Even with their friends going above and beyond to help them. They stocked them up with clothes, even printed out Facebook pictures and put them in frames so it felt more like home. Friends combed through the wreckage of their old home to try to save anything they could. Then people donated tons of items to the family. Hudson had over 30 pairs of shoes donated to him.
“We started to feel guilty getting as much support as we did,” said April.
The family passed what they didn’t need on so others could have it.
During this time, the family was trying to get back on track. They suffered from anxiety and panic attacks, and both April and Daniel had to go on blood pressure medication because of the stress. April says things have gotten better, but the family is still working on dealing with the issues.
The Walz family is one of the lucky ones that got what they needed from their insurance. It took a long time, but the money was right, and they were able to build a new house out in Gladeville, close to where April teachers at Gladeville Elementary.
Despite all of the heartache over the past year, they do see the positive that came from it.
“We are not taking anything for granted,” said Daniel.
His wife April agrees.
“We have a different perspective on life…It has made our lives better.”

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