Raymond mayor is grateful for his home this Thanksgiving - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Raymond mayor is grateful for his home this Thanksgiving


As you gather with family this holiday, you might take some time to think about what you're thankful for.  The mayor of Raymond in Black Hawk County is grateful to gather around the table with family, at a home that's all in one piece.

"Never imagined in my wildest dreams something like this.  This is—I've never seen a mess like this," said Monte Johnson.

That was his reaction in July 2010, just a few hours after his home was zapped by lightning.  Summer storms knocked a giant hole in the roof, scattering ceiling tiles and insulation everywhere.

"The whole electrical system was fried.  It took everything electrical in the house:  all our major appliances, all our TVs, VCRs, DVD players, radios, clock radios, two computers, surround sound.  It took everything," said Johnson.

The Johnsons originally built their dream home just a few years ago.  After the storm, rebuilding it took several months. 

"Everything in the house, in the downstairs and upstairs, was totally gutted all the way back to the studs.  All the kitchen cabinets had to come out.  We had to have a whole new kitchen, all new wiring.  The only thing that didn't have damage was the plumbing," Johnson said.

They were able to move back in just a couple weeks before the holidays last year, but still had a lot of work left to do.

"The basement was a long ways from being finished, and we had a lot of other things to get finished up.  It was a lot of weekends and a lot of nights in just trying to get everything put back together," Johnson said.

So this year, the Johnsons are very grateful to be spending this Thanksgiving with family after surviving a lightning strike, and to be celebrating at a home that's all in one piece.

Damage to the Johnson home was estimate at $250,000.  Storms still make the family nervous, but they're glad the chances of getting struck by lightning twice are pretty slim.

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