CHICAGO (CBS) — People in LaSalle County still have a lot of cleaning up to do, after tornadoes ravaged the towns of Naplate and Ottawa on Tuesday, killing two people.
In Naplate, a village of just over 500 people, nearly everyone was affected by the storm, or knows someone impacted by the EF-3 tornado.
The first tornado to ever hit Naplate was a monster of a storm. More than 20 percent of the homes and businesses were destroyed or badly damaged by the twister, which generated winds of up to 155 mph.
The Dutton family rode out the storm in a small bathroom. During that time, their home was literally ripped apart around them. Their van was picked up and tossed into their back yard.
Nicole O’Shea saw what happened to her neighbors and offered the Duttons and their dog a place to stay for as long as they need it.
“In times like this, it makes you really appreciate every little thing,” she said.
Rachel Dutton said, “It’s an amazing feeling to know you’re somewhere where you’re safe.”
The good news was no one in Naplate was killed in Tuesday’s storm.
The same could not be said of one family in neighboring Ottawa, where two men were killed when a massive tree was knocked over, falling on 76-year-old Wane Tuntland, and his 31-year-old son-in-law David “D.J.” Johnson.
They were out cutting wood with Tuntland’s son, Toby, when the tornado roared into town.
When the tree’s snapped and started to fall, Johnson pushed Toby out of the way. It was a split-second decision that saved Toby’s life, but cost Johnson his own.
Through tears, Johnson’s father remembered his namesake.
“I’m sad that he’s gone, but I’m glad that we brought him up to be able to do this, knowing that he was putting his life to safe someone else’s,” David Johnson Sr. said.