Parkersburg family recounts 2008 city-destroying tornado - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Parkersburg family recounts 2008 city-destroying tornado

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PARKERSBURG (KWWL) - "The 25th of May -- you never forget it."

It was the day before Memorial Day in 2008 when disaster touched down in the middle of an eastern Iowa town.

The Kolder family still lives their life day-to-day, but they'll never forget what that EF-5 tornado did to their home.

"Your heart just sinks, and you're just numb," Mary Kolder explained, just before she put dinner on the stove. "You don't know how to feel, what to feel. You're like a zombie. You look around and can't comprehend what you're seeing."

The Kolders say they got themselves and their two children in the basement just in time -- moments before the tornado hit.

"We were just so happy we were able to get in the basement and be safe," said Ron Kolder.

When the dust settled, it was time to move forward. Like many storm victims in Parkersburg, the Kolders decided to rebuild their home in the same spot it once stood.

After spending almost a year in a small one-bedroom apartment, the Kolders finally rebuilt -- now with an new addition: a storm shelter.

"It's underneath our porch, so if we ever have another tornado we can get down in here and have all cement walls around us," said Ron.

It's been seven years, and while some things have changed -- "You don't hear birds chirp anymore, you don't see squirrels" -- there are some things that will always stay the same, like dinner with family.

"That's just family to me," Kolder said. "To sit at the table, you can talk about what happened."
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