Day 31. Holy Cow. This challenge is over after today!!! Yayyyy!
Today is a Vivid Memory.
Considering the recent tornadoes this one has been on the forefront of my mind.
It was the morning of May 22, 2008.
That morning it was like any other. I woke up, made my coffee kissed Ryan goodbye and I headed to my job like every other morning from Greeley to Windsor. I was working at a new company, I started a couple of weeks beforehand. The company was a Pest Control company and I was a customer specialist because of my pest control knowledge (thanks Dad). I enjoyed it, everyone was nice and I was good at it.
I parked on the south side of the building like I always did. This particular morning there were storms expected.
I was sitting at my desk chatting with some of the office ladies and one of the technicians, Mike.
The hail came, then it stopped. The eeriness came and the sky turned a greenish-brown color.
Being from Kansas I knew exactly what this meant.
“A Tornado is coming. This is tornado weather,” I said.
“We don’t have tornadoes in Colorado. This isn’t Kansas,” a couple of the staff said as they chuckled like I was crazy.
The wind picked up and soon the construction works from the building across the way came running to our building.
“A Tornado! There’s a tornado is coming! They just said it on the radio. Come on! We have the keys to the old restaurant, we can go under there!! LETS GO!”
I grabbed my phone and my purse and I headed out the door.
The wind was strong and straight to the south was the building we were going to hide under, and so was the tornado.
The tornado was coming across the the large field just on the other side of the road. It was big and it was bringing the dirt and everything else up into the sky. We made it to the other building and we walked down the large outdoor staircase to get to the basement. We all made it in, and shut the door. Everyone frantically trying to call their loved ones in the area. I tried Ryan and got nothing. The President of the company, Marc, tried to call his wife and let them know and his phone wouldn’t work so I gave him mine. He tried. No luck. Calls weren’t going through.
The wind go louder. The ground around us began to shake, we all came to our knees as the loud roar of the tornado came over us. The building shook, the ground quivered and the tornado sounded like a freight train.
We waited until a bit after the shaking stopped and the world sounded quiet again and the walk up that outdoor concrete stair case was surreal. It was like a scene out of a movie. Nothing was the same, everything in shambles, nothing like it was before. That walk up the stairs and the next moments became slow motion. The buildings in pieces, hundreds of pieces, cars slammed into one another, everything covered in dirt. My car was smashed between two cars of my co-workers. I looked around me and it was like time stopped.
I called Ryan probably 50 times, but the call couldn’t be completed. I couldn’t get through, nor could any else. Everyone in a 30+ mile radius was trying to call their loved ones. All I knew is that I was told that it had hit Greeley first, so I was worried about Ryan. Finally it dawned on me, my mom was in Kansas and she had a land-line. She could call Ryan. Finally I got through to her and she picked up.
“Hi Mom. I need you to Call Ryan. Call him over and over again until he answers,” I said.
“Kristina, what is going on??,” my mom asked. Understandably so since obviously she had zero idea what was going on.
“Oh. I was just in a Tornado..” and before I could finish she busts out “YOU WHAT?! A Tornado? Are you OK?!” I replied “Yes I’m fine. I just need you to make sure Ryan is OK. I can’t get through. I can’t drive my car.”
My mom called Ryan three times until he finally answered.
“Hello Karen.” Ryan answers, unsure of why on earth my mom was calling so many times.
“What are you doing?????” she asks.
“Umm I just got out of the shower……….what are you doing?” he replies.
“You need to get to Windsor. NOW.” she says
“Why is that?” he asks
“Have you not seen the news? A Tornado just hit Windsor…You need to go get Kristina.”
“A Tornado WHAT!?!”
Soon enough Ryan was headed on his way and for the first time ever Wyatt, our dog jumped over the gate, he apparently could sense something wrong so Ryan had to bring him too.
Meanwhile, all I could do was look around me in awe. I walked into the building and everything was a mess. Mike, the technician I was talking to earlier never left the building. He didn’t get out in time and hid under a desk. He was fine thank goodness. Here is some of the carnage.
I remember asking the emergency personnel if they knew about the buildings across the way. I was worried for them because I knew the people over there. I used to work over there. The lady told me “I haven’t heard anything about people over there.”
I was so worried. >>this was the building.
I told Ryan when he got to me that we had to go make sure they were OK. We did and they were. Thank goodness.
The company I worked for was closed for a week and a half as they found a new office space a city over. I had liability on my car, so I was screwed. The Irony? My insurance literally asked me the week before if I wanted hazard insurance and i told her that it was Colorado and I wasn’t in the mountains – nothing monumental would happen. Little did I know. The company that I worked for at the time knew about me only having liability insurance and knew we didn’t have the money to fix the car windows. The rest of the damage didn’t matter but I had to put plastic in my windows after we got it unpryed from my co-workers car. The company paid for it. Oh I fractured my thumb during the process of everything. How? I have no idea but the company paid everything my insurance did too. They were such a great company! They certainly didn’t have to but they did.
So there you have it.
My Vivid Memory of Being in A Tornado 🙂