From his window, Clem watched the massive storm roll through his little town. Whether too afraid to move or just somehow still sure it wasn’t going to be as bad as it seemed, he stayed where he was while his wife waited in the kitchen for him to return. You can see the result.
The camera was stripped from Clem’s hand and found later. Clem awoke as neighbors pulled him from the debris of his collapsed chimney, tangled in bed sheets and buried in the ruins of his house. After he was freed, his neighbor told him not to look down. And of course he asked why. It was his wife, buried beneath their feet. She hadn’t made it.
Geri Shultz and Clem had been married 25 years. Geri and her neighbor Jacqueline Klosa were close friends and would go on weekly shopping trips. Klosa too had died in the tornado. When asked if he thought his wife was in heaven, Clem agreed that yes, she likely was because there was no way the devil could put up with both his wife and her friend Jacqueline at the same time.
Clem has since moved to another house. He stays with his dog Missy, who survived the tornado. A portrait of the man and his wife was found 30 miles away after the storm that ended up being returned to him. There’s also a plastic tub of memorabilia from his time in the Navy that survived, and afghans knitted by his wife.
Though he didn’t want to see that video at first, he has since watched it and given it to a meteorology student who used it in his doctorate studies about the internal structure of tornadoes, something that makes Clem happy as at least what he did may be able to help save lives as people study these kinds of destructive storms.