Tornado prepares newlyweds to "weather" any future

By Erica Quednau |

Published 11/22 2013 05:03PM

Updated 11/22 2013 06:19PM

GIFFORD -- Sunday was a day this newly-married couple will never forget. They survived the tornado by just seconds.

It's day five of clean up for families here. Friday, EMA is taking a step back with its duties and St. Paul's Lutheran Church is taking over as a main hub. That's where volunteers can now sign in to help, and the Salvation Army will be passing out donations.

As for families in town, many continue to cope with the destruction all around them. WCIA-3's Erica Quednau finds out how some are getting through it all.

They're focusing on what's important. Kenny and Alena Nierenhausen says their experience Sunday was terrifying, but they're getting through everything together.

"It all happened really fast. I remember, hearing the sirens go off. We run into the bathroom, I mean it seemed like at the very, last split-second."

"As soon as we shut the door, windows started breaking, plaster and then, all of a sudden."

"It just started flipping the house and it was just getting ripped away from us."

"I pinned my dad and wife."

Everyone was OK, but one member of the family was still missing.

"It was hard for me because my dog didn't make it in, and um..."

"There was a guy helping that stopped and he asked if I had a dog. She was just sitting there waiting for someone to come rescue here. She couldn't get out, so..."

"About an hour later, I see my husband walking around the house with her in his arms."

"That's her baby."

Together again, Kenny and Alena Nierenhausen tried to look forward, but it was hard to lose their past. The couple just got married.

"June, yes. There are some things, you know, just mementos from the wedding that we won't be able to replace."

But, in the middle of all the destruction, they found hope.

"That sign. We had it in our living room above our entertainment center, above our TV. And, we found it."

And, if a picture paints a thousand words, I don't have to say anymore about how these two will weather through the future together.

"I just remember seeing it and thinking, 'we are alive and we have a future together and that's all that. That's all that really matters.'"

"I'm just thankful we have our family. I mean, that's the most important part is family."

Kenny's dad is OK. He just got out of the hospital Tuesday and just has to deal with some crutches.

As for Kenny and Alena, they're taking it day-by-day, cleaning up. They're grateful for all the friends, family and complete strangers who've been helping them deal with the clean up.

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