Lavenz Family still recovering after New Hartford tornado - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Lavenz Family still recovering after New Hartford tornado

by Danielle Wagner

NEW HARTFORD (KWWL) With a tornado warning and no basement in their New Hartford home, Nicolle Lavenz and her three daughters, Skylar, Morgan and Madison, got in the car and tried driving to Nicolle's fiance's parent's house.

But the Lavenz family unknowingly headed into the path of the tornado. Near Oak Hill Cemetery, their car got swept up in the EF5 tornado.

Nicolle was trapped and injured, but they survived. A year later, the Lavenz family is rebuilding their lives after last year.

First it was the tornado, and then they lost their New Hartford house in the flood. The family has since moved to Stout.

I'm told one of the criteria when looking for a house, was a basement.

May 25, 2008 is a day Nicolle, Skylar, Morgan and Madison Lavenz will never forget.

"The car started shaking and debris was flying at us. It was just horrendous, the noise was. Then it actually picked us up then did a few loop de loops and threw us into the cemetery," said Nicolle Lavenz in a June 2008 interview with KWWL.

"I was scared because all I could feel was just everything beating upon me because the windows were obviously broken," said Morgan Lavenz in June 2008.

Almost a year later, the Lavenz family is still recovering from the tornado.... emotionally and physically.

The family attends a "Tornado Club" to talk through their fears.

"They (the girls) talk about it a lot and the counselors say that's good that they talk about it. There's been some fears. Some problems sleeping. Still, even now almost a year later. We just deal with those as they come up," said Nicolle Lavenz.

Morgan Lavenz said she's doing better, but she's still fearful.

"I am still scared of storms and when there's a tornado warning I do ask to go to the basement," said Morgan Lavenz.

Nicolle was the only one with a serious injury. She had three surgeries on her arm to remove debris as well as crushed ligaments and tendons in her back and shoulder.

"I'd been going to therapy for that until two months ago and they told me I was going to live with the pain forever," said Nicolle Lavenz.

A year later, it's still difficult for the family to be back at the cemetery.

"I just don't like coming back out here. I'm so grateful for everything everyone's done. It looks great out here, compared to what it did, but those memories are never going to go away and just driving down the same road or looking at the houses or cemetery, it's just not a good feeling," she said.

Lavenz said the family is slowly rebuilding their lives thanks to support from family and friends. Now that things are calming down, Nicolle hopes to get married soon.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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