Sunday, June 05, 2011

EMS eighth grader's family's tornado story featured in Springfield News-Leader

The story of East Middle School eighth grader Kate Stauffer and her family rode out the May 22 tornado is featured in today's Springfield News-Leader.

Kate's older sister, Ali, is a swimmer on the Missouri State University team, so the story is featured in the newspaper's sports section:

Stauffer's mother, father and sister rode out the storm in the bathroom as the tornado ripped the house near the corner of 20th and Massachusetts apart.

"My husband said, 'Oh, my god, this is it. We're gone,' " Stauffer's mother, Nancy Challberg, said. "We were scared at this time. We just knew it would suck us up. We were saying our I-love-yous and goodbyes."

The storm passed after about two minutes, but hail started to pour through a hole in the roof over the bathtub, where Kate Stauffer, 14, was huddled under a pillow.

When father Gavin Stauffer finally emerged several minutes after the storm passed, he turned to his family and said, "It's all gone."

The roof was gone, and a layer of insulation, wood beams and shingles covered possessions.

Challberg made a quick phone call to Ali, who lives in an apartment in Springfield, to tell her they were alive and warn her about the storm. The family then walked more than a mile to a relative's house, where they have been staying ever since.

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