After the tornado, the Johnson's said they wanted to rebuild. The tree in their front yard kept their home from being blown away. But now, that house is gone and they're looking forward to some new beginnings, in more ways than one.
Just days after the tornado ripped through Gifford, Kurtis Johnson and his friends were already tearing down his home. The Johnson's had good reason to hurry, but Mother Nature didn't help.
"It is very slow going still," said Kurtis. "This machinery that tears down the homes and cleans things up, it just didn't work in 20 below temperatures."
When the tornado hit, Kurtis' wife, Heather, was seven months pregnant with their first child.
"I barely made it in the bathroom in time and got in the bathtub before it hit and I just heard everything start crashing from there," said Heather.
"With this little one coming, we wanted somewhere to go," said Kurtis.
Now that baby Kenner is here, the Johnson's have a new plan. Instead of rebuilding, they decided to buy.
"It's been stressful, but we've been getting through it," said Heather. "Trying to keep a positive attitude at all times."
They found a house that felt just right and they're moving in next month.
"It seems like over the last couple weeks, it's been coming together," said Kurtis.
It's still in Gifford, just a little farther north than they were. And they'll have some familiar faces moving in next door.
"It's kind of neat to get our neighbors back," said Kurtis.
Even though it's not quite what they planned, the Johnson's say they're excited to start their new future.
Even though their old home is gone, the tree is still there. Volunteers from Wisconsin donated a different tree for the Johnson's to plant at their new home.
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