Salvaging memories: Storms and wind damages local family’s home

A local Wapakoneta family had part of their home destroyed in the wind storm on Friday, but they are keeping positive as they get ready to rebuild their home.

Heather and Craig Nolte, and their two daughters, Allison, 14, and Emma, 10, had two trees demolish their sunroom and living room.

“We are very fortunate we are fine and we have somewhere to go,” Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Council Assistant Director Heather Nolte said. “We are staying positive through all of this.”

It all started on Friday afternoon when the wind storms hit. After watching the storm for a short time, the Noltes decided to take cover in their basement in their ranch style house at 16996 State Route 198, just outside of Wapakoneta.

“We were home and we’ve had been watching the storm out of the front and back windows,” Heather said. “The neighbors had some trees down and then all of a sudden it got really bad, so that’s when we went into the basement.”

Heather and Allison were in the basement, Craig and Emma were right behind them as they all heard a loud “crack.”

“Our skylight was shattered,” Heather said.

A tree from the backyard had come crashing down and in on the sky light in the family’s living room.

Another tree limb had struck the roof above their sunroom, and destroyed the room.

“It was pretty scary,” Heather said, as they family was in the basement. “I know the kids were really scared, and we said prayers and tried to sing songs.”

Heather estimated the family was in the basement for approximately 10 minutes during the storm, and her husband was the first to go up and check, and then he cleared a path for the family to come upstairs.

“It’s just a big construction zone,” Heather said of home.

Heather and her family are thankful for friends and family who came to their rescue.

Heather’s cousin, Mike Kentner, of Grade A Excavating, came to help remove the broken trees in the backyard.

Heather said she and her family had lived in the home for 11 years, and it was Craig’s childhood home, as his parents were the prior owners.

“Craig had grown up in this house,” Heather said. “Honestly we never had tree problems, and we’ve been fortunate through every storm.”

The family is staying at Heather’s mother’s house, Pat Schlenker.

A contractor had come to the home and will fix the house, and estimates it will take 60 days to get the project completed.

The family is waiting on the insurance adjuster to come out and check out the damages, so in the meantime the family is in “limbo” as they wait until the adjuster visits the home before doing any major clean-up — besides the removing of some of the trees, as they were advised to do.

The family was scheduled to leave on vacation on Saturday morning to drive to New York City, where they were going to stay this week along with stopping by a nearby beach, but Heather said luckily they were able to canceled their hotel rooms, and they were not out of any money.

“We haven’t been out of anything besides the experience of going,” Heather said, of the trip which is now postponed.

“Our neighbors have been great throughout all of this,” Heather said. “Without any electric, we have no water since we have a well. So they have been giving us water. So many people have been nice and helpful.”

As Heather’s husband was rummaging through some of the debris this past weekend, he was able to salvage some of the items that were in the sunroom, also know as the “Red Room” where the family had a collection of Wapakoneta Redskins decor.

Allison played softball, so her glove and a bucket of softballs were a couple items that were saved from the room.

As for the other items in the home, Heather said she was able to save the photo albums and other important items in each of the rooms.

“Our daughters are handling it pretty well,” Heather said. “It’s been tears, but the kids are very positive.”

As for Heather, she is also keeping a positive attitude.

“I’m not worried about it,” Heather said. “There were a few things that we made sure we got out … It’s just stuff — nothing that can’t be fixed.”