Merrill Man Recovers from Tornado that Sent him Flying

By: Jennifer Kliese Email
By: Jennifer Kliese Email

A Merrill man is surprised to be alive, after Sunday's tornado tore him from his home. He was sent flying about 200 feet from his upstairs bedroom.

Don Smith says he didn't know the tornado was coming. He heard the sirens, but thought they were a train. So he went upstairs to bed, and was surprised to see a pine tree outside his house crash in through his window. He covered his head to protect himself from the flying glass and that was the last thing he remembered before waking up in the rubble.

"Then all of a sudden I felt myself moving, must have been with the whole mattress and everything. They found me outside 200 feet away. I'm laying on two trees or something like that." says Don.

Neighbors found Don lying in the rubble of what was left of his home. They called 911 and he was quickly airlifted to Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield.

The tornado sent him flying about 200 feet from his home, causing serious injuries. He suffered several broken ribs, a ruptured spleen and a bruised lung. He spent 24 hours in the ICU on a breathing tube.

Back in Merrill, Don's children have been working hard to clean up what's left behind, but they say the house is completely gone.

"We found little things here and little things there but for the most part it looks like its a total loss," says Don's son, Tom.

Don says he's not sure what he will do once he gets out of the hospital. But the family say it's a miracle he's still alive after a close call.

Don's son says many volunteers have been very helpful helping families clean up their homes throughout Merrill.

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