Surviving a Tornado

Surviving a Tornado
By: Arnold Wyrick

(Wayne Co., IL)--It's been a year since an F-4 tornado roared through Wayne County, in Illinois, leaving behind a 20 mile path of death and destruction.

Many of the folks living in Fairfield on Broadway Street recall that afternoon and how they survived. "I had a fear one year ago today that when that tornado hit that I was dead," says Leslie Tinkler. Tinkler and his wife Susan were both seriously injured when their home collapsed around them. "And I got out from under that wall and then I had the fear that I'd never see my wife again," said Tinkler.

But one year later he and his son are rebuilding the family's home. And looking forward to their future and a second chance at life. "I knew it was going to take some time when we started building this house. But were in it. We've depended on a lot of people. I used to be very independent. And I had to put my trust in people that they were going to help me," Tinkler said as he hugged and held his wife hand standing next to him. "Whatever is in front of us we'll be able to handle it, because we know the lords there with us."

But just down the street from the Tinkler's it's a different story for Barbara and Lester Merritt, they've still not been able to rebuild their home. They've only been able to stack out an outline of where it'll sit, and look at drawings of what it'll look like when it's completed. "Well looking forward to building this new house. So we'll have someplace to live. I do a lot of work myself and I'll need to do a lot of work to get by," says Lester Merritt.

His wife Barbara is looking forward to getting out of the mobile home they've been living in while waiting for their insurance company to settle with them. "Oh I think it'll be great if we can finish it like we'd like to. It'll take all of us working together to get it done, but we'll get her done," says Barbara Merritt. "I started out in a little trailer with 3 kids until we built our first home. And we'd like to get back into a home."