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85-Year-Old Man Unexpectedly Captures Video of Massive Tornado as It Literally Passes Right Through His Home, Killing His Wife


"My video is saving lives."

Image source: Clem Schultz

One Illinois man is using video footage that he captured of the tornado that ripped through his home and killed his wife last April to promote awareness for the necessity of following proper safety protocol during natural disasters.

Image source: Clem Schultz

Clem Schultz, 85, was inside his Fairdale, Illinois home with his wife of 25 years, Geri, when a tornado passed through on April 9, 2015. Expecting that the electricity would go out, and not much else, Schultz climbed the stairs grab some lanterns from an upstairs bedroom, and while he was upstairs, he decided to film the tornado's passing from the window, according to the Daily Herald.

But to his horror, the tornado hopped a railroad track roughly a block away and veered directly towards his home before slamming into his home.

Image source: Clem Schultz

The encounter, which was caught on camera, showed the tornado as it hit the home before continuing only with the howling wind as the the screen blacked out entirely.

Schultz became engulfed in debris as the the chimney collapsed and took him with it, according to the Daily Herald. After a few moments had passed, a neighbor helped dig Shultz out of the rubble before advising not to "look down." When Schultz asked why, the neighbor replied, "Because your wife is right under you. She's dead."

Schultz, who now lives northeast of Genoa on a two-house farm property with his white shepherd names Missy , will be returning to Fairdale for a memorial dedication on April 9. Schultz said that Missy, who went missing for two days after the tornado struck their old home, helps to keep him company.

"I'll be watching TV, and something comes on that needs a comment, and [Geri] is not there. But Missy's always there," Schultz told the Daily Herald, adding that Missy always sleeps on the sofa with an afghan that Geri had crocheted for her — a keepsake that he had managed to salvage from the rubble and debris.

"This is the last thing she crocheted. It was for Missy," Schultz said.

On Sunday, Schultz's video of the tornado striking his home was posted onto Vimeo with the intent of warning other people to not make the same mistakes that Clem and Geri made on that terrible day.

"PLEASE do not attempt to video or take photos of a tornado as it approaches your location," the video's caption reads. "PLEASE follow National Weather Service warning advice: 'Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If in a mobile home, a vehicle, or outdoors, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris."

Clem Schultz Fairdale Tornado Video from Walker Ashley ~ Storm Forensics on Vimeo.

"I did not know if I wanted to see that video," Schultz told the Daily Herald, adding that he got up the nerve to view it at his daughter's urging several days after the tornado struck his home.

Schultz then shared it with a meteorology student who had been studying that tornado. The student included the video in his doctorate studies investigating the internal structure of tornadoes, the Daily Herald noted, and it has since been shared worldwide.

"I'm proud of it," Schultz now admits. "My video is saving lives."

Clem and Missy (Image source: Clem Schultz's Facebook page)

(H/T: Daily Mail)

Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter

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