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The Day After
Plants hang but that's all

By Karen Wittwer
Independent Staff Writer

Originally Published Wednesday, June 4, 1980

The plants are still hanging in the big south window of Danford and Marilyn Stout's home in east Grand Island. But that's about all that's left.

Mrs. Stout, surrounded by children and friends, was surveyed what was left of her house at 304 E. Nebraska Ave. early Wednesday morning.

"There's not much you can say for something like this outside of where do you start," Mrs. Stout said.

The neighborhood was filled with mangled trees and debris. Nearly every home suffered some kind of damage.

Small knots of people gathered on the sidewalks, shaking their heads in disbelief, clutching their blankets around their shoulders.

Mrs. Stout and her family took refuge in the basement shortly after hearing the first tornado warnings. When they heard the wind, "We knew, we just knew this was it."

A van owned by the Stouts' daughter was overturned in the front yard and Mrs. Stout said it would have come through the front door if a tree hadn't blocked it's path.

With much of the walls and roof gone, Mrs. Stout said, "There's not much we're going to be able to salvage."

But Bill Hotz, cleaning the area around his leveled home at 816 E. Oklahoma, said many of the family's personal belongings could be saved.

"We don't have too many things in there gone," he said. Books, football helmets and other personal belongings were piled in a corner of the yard.

But after the initial cleaning, Hotz said he wasn't sure what his family would do.

"We'll see what we do as we go along," he said.

Hotz, his wife, Wilma, son, Rob and two of Rob's friends were in the basement when the tornado hit.

Hotz pulled a grass catcher for a lawn mower from the wreckage of his home.

"I can catch grass if I can't do anything else," he said.