Tornado Destroys Home, Charity Rebuilds It

Maureen Wurtz

THURMAN, IOWA (KPTM)- One family will have a new home for the holidays, after a tornado destroyed it last April.

Not only will the family get to move back to its hometown, but the home is getting built for free.

Nail by nail, board by board, soon a building sitting on the corner of Smith and West Streets in Thurman, Iowa will turn into a home.

"It's just remarkable what they've done," said Sandy Umphreys.

"There is no Christmas gift that you could receive that is more special than seeing a family receive a home," said Ryan Johnson, with disaster relief charity, One Family, One Purpose.

Johnson and his non-profit, One Family, One Purpose, is building a new home for Umphreys after it was destroyed April 14th. "It's hard to describe, really, it's such an amazing thing," said Umphreys while watching her house take shape.

"(We're) created to serve others, and that's what we're doing here in Thurman," said Johnson.

Umphreys said she still can remember the day she lost everything like it was yesterday. "My daughter had called me from Sidney, and said Mom, there's a tornado heading your way," remembered Umphreys. "It was so much dirt and debris flying around, you couldn't see anything."

But now, she can't miss her home as volunteers from Iowa and Illinois rebuild her home from the ground up.

Creating a new place where she can take care of her daughter, who suffers from a lung disease. "She had a stroke back in 2001, so I take care of her," said Umphreys.

Everything from workers to supplies has been donated. "It's really special with all of the heartbreak that Sandy's experienced in her life, to be able to bless her," said Johnson.

"This is my home, no matter what," said Umphreys.

A home that was torn down in seconds, and Monday, rebuilt. Now, giving Umphreys a place to finally call home.

Volunteers hope to have the home complete by December. Organizers said, they're still in need of donations and volunteers.

To donate, click here