'God was with us,' said Eslinger of EF-2 tornado that destroyed her home

"We could barely stand the pressure – we had to cover our ears. It was so loud – a high-pitched sound like a whistle. We had been watching the weather and knew a storm was coming. It looked really scary to the west. Someone called and said we should go to the shelter. We went down into the storm cellar, which is 20 yards north of the house. About 10 minutes later, it just hit. It was horrible. I think it lasted a couple minutes. I was thinking positive. God was with us the whole time."

It was hailing when they entered the cellar.

"I really just thought we had really bad wind and hail. I was praying for my garden and our animals."

Kandi Eslinger was describing an EF-2 tornado that destroyed her home Saturday evening on May 25. Her farm is on the K-2 highway, about eight miles west of Anthony, Kansas.

Eslinger was in the cellar with her daughter, Jaci, 17, who will be a senior at Chaparral High School next fall. A friend, Chris Duwe, was also in the cellar with them.

"When we opened the cellar door, I saw the whole top of my house was gone," Eslinger said.

The first person to greet them was a storm chaser, who came right to the storm cellar to see if they were okay.

The tornado not only destroyed the house, but smashed and twisted all three of the Eslingers' pickups and car, their garage, camper, goat shed and much more. It also ripped apart a shed across the highway where Eslinger's son kept some possessions, all destroyed. Windows were broken out of everything.

"It's crazy, the things that it destroyed and the things that God protected," Eslinger said. One of those crazy things: "people found $1 bills with a stick stuck through them," she said. Another: her shower curtain was wrapped upward toward a ceiling no longer there.

The strangest thing she's learned is that the home of neighbors living six miles to the north was destroyed by a tornado 20 years ago to the day, on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.

Eslinger estimated at least 100 people were at her place helping clean everything. They brought skid steers and a lot of equipment. Her pictures and legal documents were all in plastic tubs, and so are saved.

"Things I thought I could save, I guess I couldn't," she said.

Men brought trailers to put things in, she said, like some furniture and her piano; however, because everything was drenched, it started to mold.

"The dogs, goats and garden are good. We are fine. The tornado destroyed and God protected," Eslinger said. "God has always been there, and I know He will take care of all my needs. I'm so overwhelmed by the amount of family and friends who have supported us and helped with everything. I'm at peace with all this – it's just stuff," she said.

"I'm overwhelmed with the love shown to us. We're taking this one day at a time," she said.

Eslinger is the secretary at Anthony Elementary.


Reader Comments(0)

Rendered 06/17/2024 17:37