No one was home
The tornado which devastated Parkersburg sent ripples throughout the state reaching even to Emmet County.
Sam and Becky Huntley, both with county roots, lost their entire home located on an acreage between Parkersburg and New Hartford. Fortunately, the family of five wasn’t home as they were visiting family in Emmet County this weekend.
Sam is an Estherville graduate and son of Bud and Mary Jo Huntley of Estherville. Becky is a Lincoln Central graduate and the daughter of Duane and Dee McMurtry of Dolliver.
Dee McMurtry said relatives and friends have asked about the family. She said the couple is still numb from the disaster.
“We’re just focusing on the positives–the fact that they’re all alive,” she said. “Things can be replaced.”
The Huntleys’ neighbors, an older couple, were victims of the tornado.
Family members went to help after the disaster to scavenge for the Huntleys’ personal items, but Dee said there was nothing left.
“The stove, the refrigerator, the kitchen cupboard–all gone,” she said. “There’s not a bed, a blanket or the dressers–all gone–and we don’t know where it went.”
There was no sign of the family’s horse trailer either.
The couple had horses that were killed in the tornado except for one–however it was in critical condition.
“The horses meant a lot to Becky and Elizabeth (the Huntleys’ oldest daughter,” Dee said.
Elizabeth is a member of a horse club and friends from the group came and bought a swimsuit and took her swimming to take her mind off the situation.
“The neighbors have been so nice,” she said.
Other neighbors showed up with chain saws and other equipment, but there was little anyone could do.
While visiting the devastation, family received invitations to where there was electricity and water.
The only clothes the family has are what they packed for the weekend.
Dee said that classmates of the children–Elizabeth, 9; Michael 8; and Nick, 4–have shared clothes of their own with the family.
The Huntleys are currently staying in a hotel in Cedar Falls and received local help for those accommodations. Sleep Inn of Estherville helped the family acquire a good rate.