Hugo family talks about two-year-old tornado victim
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The things that could be salvaged from the home of Jerry and Christy Prindle, barely fit in a pick-up truck. But friends and neighbors searched nonetheless for insurance papers, stuffed animals and family photos. What they found mattered little compared to who was lost.
"Nathaniel was a wonderful little boy with a very big heart, a very big smile," said Todd Nelson, an uncle of the two-year-old son of Jerry and Christy.
Nathaniel was found by neighbors late Sunday afternoon, after the tornado blew him out of his home and into a pond beyond his backyard.
Neighbors attempted CPR, but Nathaniel could not be saved. His parents and four-year-old sister Annika were also blown from the house and found amid the debris in the backyard and are now recovering from their injuries.
Nathaniel's sister, four-year old Annika is in critical condition at Gillette Children's Hospital. Jerry Prindle is also in the hospital at Regions and is in fair condition. Christy Prindle was treated and released from the hospital.
For next-door neighbor Marcel Linders it's now all a matter of perspective. "It's just a pile of junk," he says about his leveled two-story home. "We lost our house, we lost our stuff, but they lost a child."
Linders, his step-daughter Rachel Baldwin and her boyfriend all survived without serious injuries when Linders' home collapsed into the basement. "I'm still amazed that not one of us was hurt," he said. "It seemed like everything collapsed right around us and there was just enough space for us to sit underneath without everything collapsing on top of us."
All afternoon neighbors faced the Prindles' home and quietly paid respects. "My heart goes out to them," said Sylvia McPeak, who lives across the small pond.
On Monday afternoon neighbors found the Prindles' dog wandering in the neighborhood. He'd been missing since being blown out of the house.
"He needs to change his name from Toby to lucky, because he really is," said neighbor Jennifer Johnson who sat with Toby on the near the end of the Prindles' driveway.
Like the clean up, the healing is only beginning on the Prindle's street. Neighbors are doing what they can, while knowing it can never be enough.
By Boyd Huppert, KARE 11 News