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Family counts blessings in aftermath

By Staff | May 28, 2008

Former Estherville residents, Jim and Linda (Johnson) Wee, are counting blessings along with their family in Estherville to have survived the terrifying tornado in Butler County Sunday.

A phone call was placed to the Estherville home of Linda’s parents, Roger and Irma Johnson Tuesday and the Estherville Daily News learned while the couple survived the devastating ordeal in the basement, they lost their home and all of their possessions.

“Our granddaughter Jessica, her husband and 4-month-old baby lived a block away from Linda and Jim, and they too lost everything. Jessica and the baby had to go to the hospital to be checked because of the cuts and bruises but they are OK,” Irma said.

A call from their daughter came around 8 p.m. Sunday. “We hadn’t heard anything about the tornado yet. She called as soon as she could to let us know they were OK.”

Both families were housed in the hospital the first night and have now been provided with lodging in Cedar Falls.

“Our granddaughter’s home was blown off its foundation and the suction was so strong it sucked the washer and dryer out of the basement.”

The parents were protecting the baby on the floor on the lower level. Johnson said she was told the suction was so strong that it moved the young family to the other side of the basement.

“Then it (the suction) quit that fast because the storm had moved on.”

Johnson said her son-in-law is retired. He is the son of Merlin and the late Arlene Wee.

“My granddaughter is a teacher in a handicapped school and her husband works in construction.” The Johnsons learned Tuesday the Iowa National Guard was onsite hauling debris away from the area on Memorial Day.

The Wees, both Estherville High School graduates, have been Parkersburg residents for at least 25 years.

The Johnsons are truly grateful their family is OK. “This is a blessing for all of us.”