TV weather warning saves couple's lives

By WEEK Producer

November 21, 2013 Updated Nov 21, 2013 at 10:45 PM CDT

ROANOKE, Ill. -- For more than 40 years Steve and Sonnie Moritz lived in a house three miles north of Roanoke.

Now its gone.

"It was like losing an old friend. We had it the way we wanted it. Its where we raised our kids," said Sonnie.

The Moritz's had just sat down to watch T-V Sunday morning when they saw Chuck Collins and Sandy Gallant warn viewers about tornados.

"They they had to go off the air and they said they would be back if possible," recalled Sonnie. "We knew then that it was really serious."

So they went to the basement. That wasn't easy for Steve, who has a broken foot and had to hop down the steps. When they eventually came back upstairs they were thankful and awestruck.

"I don't think people realize the devastation with how far it goes with other towns included in Woodford County," said Sonnie.

Less than a mile away Ron Veatch walks through what's left of his home. His farm tile business was also destroyed. He estimates the damage to his property approaches a half-million dollars, maybe more.

His brother rode out the storm parked in his truck behind the family's grain bin filled with corn.

"He (told me) I tried to come warn you and I couldn't get in so I went back there. When he came in he had glass on him because it blew his window in," Veatch said.

Veatch says he plans to rebuild, as do the Moritz's.