When John and Pat Jett were displaced from their Moline home after the June
5 tornado, they secured the house as best they could to prevent any further loss from looters that might come around.
The couple didn’t consider that squatters might come and take up residence at their unoccupied house, but that’s exactly what they found when they went to check on the home a few days after the twister.
It had been a whirlwind week for them. When the tornado hit, the Jetts were at home with their 10-year-old granddaughter, Samantha (Sami). “We had been watching TV since about 6 o’clock, so we knew bad weather was coming,” Pat said. Samantha’s parents, Marlene and Dan, were with 6-year-old Dakota at their home, located just a block over in the Indian Creek subdivision.
“My granddaughter was concerned about the storm, and had been gathering
water bottles, a blanket, etc. and took them in the laundry room,” Pat said. “I could hear Blizzard Bill saying the storm was approaching Perrysburg and Rossford. My husband was in the bedroom and I told him to come in with us in the laundry room.
“He said the storm was already past Walbridge, and I said, ‘Skip, listen you can hear it!’” she said. “When it hit, he came barreling into the room. He just had a new titanium knee put it – I haven’t seen him run like that in 20 years.” The trio rode out the storm in the small, windowless laundry room. Just afterward, Pat heard her son, who had run through the blowing rain in the immediate aftermath of the tornado to find his daughter and parents.
“He said, ‘Mom, you won’t believe what happened. You should see the streets,” Pat said. With the threat of more severe weather coming, Dan, John, Pat and Samantha made their way through the street, dark from power outage and strewn with debris, back to Dan’s home, which had a basement.
“On the way I could hear neighbors calling out to check on each other,” Pat said. “I knew it was bad.” Shortly after, the Rossford Fire Department came through the neighborhood to check damage and to verify that everyone could be accounted for. Frantic residents could be heard boarding up windows and doors and covering damaged roofs to prevent further damage from the second set of storms that were expected to hit.
It wasn’t until the next morning that Pat and John realized the full extent of the damage to their home and to their neighborhood.
Repairs to the one-story home, which had to be partially gutted, would take weeks, possibly even months, Pat said.
A few days after the storm, the couple, who are staying in temporary housing, returned to their home to check on things.
As they drove up, Pat couldn’t help but noticed the small glass table sitting upright and undisturbed on the porch, surrounded by pieces of the porch ceiling, insulation and other debris.
On the table was a trio of flower pots, which also somehow managed to escape the wind’s fury. “I decided to check the flower pots, to see if my plants were still alive amid all that junk and insulation,” Pat said. “I had just planted flowers in them, but I didn’t really expect to see anything growing.”
What Pat found was five bright blue eggs in a tidy nest built smack dab in the middle of one of the pots. “I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “That had to be built in the short period of time after the tornado.
“They were so beautiful sitting amidst all that chaos on the porch,” she said. “And I thought, ‘Hmm, someone moved in before us.’”
Every two or three days, Pat checked on the eggs, which eventually hatched. “The little babies were so tiny, and would look up when I came around.”
Just this week, the birds left their flower-pot home, leaving John and Pat to be empty-nesters once again when they return.
A young family took residence in Pat and John Jett’s Moline house while the couple was displaced by the June 5 tornado. (Press photo by Ken Grosjean)