Couple arrives home two days after tornado: ‘I can’t deny anymore that it’s not real’
David Rickers’ security company called him Friday night to let him know his house alarms were going off and something was wrong. Advertisement
“They told us they will dispatch a police officer to see what was going on in case there was a break-in and the house alarm went off for that,” Rickers said. But it wasn’t a burglar, it was a tornado ripping apart their belongings.
The Rickers’ daughter, Angie Wolken, who lives in Papillion, texted her parents while taking shelter in her basement. Her house lost power and a few trees were drowned, but the damage pales in comparison to what’s left of her parents’ home.
“I could see from back behind, it was pretty much gone. I was on the phone with her and said, ‘Oh my gosh, Mom, oh my gosh,'” Wolken said. The Rickers hit the road a couple of hours later and arrived in Bellevue about noon Sunday. They pulled up to see their garage gone and debris everywhere. Reality started to sink in.
“You know it’s real. When we pulled up, it was hard. It’s your home, your personal things,” Debbie Rickers said. The family combed the yard looking for anything salvageable. They cleaned insulation off patio furniture.
David Rickers said it reminded him of when he helped tornado victims in Grand Island and Omaha while working for the Nebraska National Guard.
“I was on the end of helping people and now I’m on the other end of it,” Rickers said. “It’s emotional, pretty emotional.”
The Rickers said they will rebuild and are grateful they weren’t home Friday night and that none of their neighbors were hurt.
WEBVTT REPORTER: FRANTIC CALLS FROMTHEIR SECURITY COMPANY FIRSTALERTED THE RICKERS’ FAMILY, WHOWERE IN ARIZONA FRIDAY NIGHT.AT FIRST, THEY THOUGHT IT MIGHTBE A BURGLAR, BUT THEY SOONFOUND OUT THE SUSPECT TURNED OUTTO BE A TORNADO ROBBING THEM OTHEIR BELONGINGS.>> POPPA, I FOUND SOME STUFF. REPORTER: IT’S ALL HANDS ON DECAT THE RICKERS’ HOME. >> LET’S KEEP LOOKING SEE WHATWE CAN FIND.REPORTER: OR WHAT’S LEFT OF IT.>> IT’S A MESS.REPORTER: DAVID AND DEBBIERICKERS WERE NOT HOME WHEN THETORNADO ROARED THROUGH BELLEVUEFRIDAY NIGHT.>> I GOT OFF THE PHONE AND CAMEBACK TO THE TABLE AND HECOULDN’T TALK.REPORTER: THEY WEREN’T EVEN INTOWN.THEY WERE IN ARIZONA.I KNEW SOMETHING WAS REALLYWRONG.BASICALLY WE BOTH CRIED, DIDN’TWE.REPORTER: A COUPLE OF HOULATER THEY HIT THE ROAD.>> IT MAKES YOU JUST SICK.REPORTER: TWO DAYS LATER, THEYARRIVED AROUND NOON SUNDAY TOSEE THIS.>> I CAN’T DENY ANYMORE THATIT’S NOT REAL.THERE’S EVERYTHING AND NOT MUCHGONNA BE LEFT.REPORTER: THE RICKERS HAD ANIDEA OF THE DAMAGE, THEIRDAUGHTER ANGIE TEXTED THEM WHILETAKING SHELTER IN HER PAPILLIONBASEMENT.THEY LOST POWER AND A COUPLE OTREES, THEN DROVE TO HERPARENTS’ HOME.>> SAW THAT IT WAS PRETTY MUCHGONE.I WAS ON THE PHONE WITH HER ANDSAID OH MY GOSH, MOM, OH MYGOSH.>> THIS IS THE FRONT OF YOURGARAGE.REPORTER: THIS SHOWS YOU THEFORCE OF THE WINDS THAT RIPPEDTHROUGH HERE FRIDAY NIGHT.HERE IS THE RICKERS’ GARAGEDOOR.THAT’S THEIR ADDRESS 150009.THAT’S THEIR HOUSE OVER THERE.>> KEEP TELLING YOUR SELF JUSTSTUFF NO ONE HURT, JUST STUFF.YOU CAN REPLACE STUFF, BUT YOUCAN’T REPLACE PEOPLE.>> WE’LL BE BACK.WE’LL BE BACK.REPORTER: THE RICKERS TELL ME,THEY’RE SO THANKFUL THEY WEREN’THOME FRIDAY NIGHT, AND NO ONE THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD WAS HURBY THE WAY DAVID RICKERS SPENT40 YEARS IN THE NEBRASKANATIONAL GUARD HELPING TORNADO VICTIMS WORKINGTHE GRAND ISLAND AND OMAHA ONES NOW HE KNOWS WHAT IT’S LIKE TOBE ON THE OTHER END.