LINWOOD, Kan. – Victims of the EF-4 tornado that ripped through Northeast Kansas spent Wednesday combing through debris that is scattered as far as the eye can see.
It’s the second time a tornado has changed Dennie Roberts’ life. This time damaging his house and destroying outbuildings on his Linwood property.
But a tornado in 2003 took something irreplaceable.
Sixteen years ago, a tornado that took a similar path as Tuesday’s tornado killed Roberts’ wife Sherry in Kansas City, Kansas.
“She said she remembered being up there flying around in it for a little bit,'” Roberts said of what his wife told him about the tornado that sucked her up into it. “Just the pressure knocked her out and then they found her underneath a lot of debris over there.”
Sherry Roberts spent the rest of her life in the hospital, fighting to overcome injures caused by the tornado.
“Five and a half months later, the good Lord went ahead and took her, I think to just get her out of her pain,” Roberts said.
So Roberts, who had been watching Tuesday’s monster tornado come toward Linwood, knew what he was looking at and how deadly it could be.
“To me, last night it didn’t sound like a train, it sounded like a plane. Even the pressure, you know, like when you start to take off. I felt all of that,” Roberts said. “Then I went downstairs and got me a chair and sat underneath the stairway and told the good Lord I don’t want to go, but if you are after me, I am ready.”
Surveying his damage in the light of day, Roberts knows he could never lose anything as precious as he did in 2003.
But among the debris and memories of loss, the sound of his old Ford truck purring gives him hope for the future. Clyde, as Roberts calls his truck, made it out of his collapsed outbuilding with just minor damage.
Roberts belongs to the Leavenworth Cruisers Club and said after this, driving his old girl with his classic car buddies will be even more special.