He built it with a storm shelter under the kitchen.
Folks teased him a little, including his family.
“We all made fun of him,” said his wife, Cheri Ellis. “David was called Noah.”
But no more. Not since the storms and tornadoes of April 27. Not since those storms leveled the buildings on their 20-acre property and the entire family of five experienced a brush with death.
“We don’t laugh now,” she said. “... David knew it would happen one day.”
The Ellises have since rebuilt most of the main house and have added two more storm shelters — one on the first floor and one on the second — just in case another storm hits and all of his family can’t make it to the basement storm shelter. The Ellises plan on being prepared.
Dutch and Dawn Bos on Leadmine Valley Road are April 27 tornado survivors.
“This valley tends to pull storms in,” Dutch Bos said. But they had never been hit by a tornado. Dutch remembers listening to the radio that was on the kitchen table. They had already lost power. His wife and 5-year-old son were hunkered down behind the staircase, near the closet on the first floor. They were holding candles.
Suddenly, nothing moved. Dutch says it was like a still picture had been taken. Then a deafening roar. He yelled to his family to get into the closet. He had taken one step inside the closet himself when the stairs above him and his family came down on top of them.
“We thought it was the end,” he said.
But, in the last minute, the stairs twisted sideways just a little, only because they got hung up on a chest of drawers and ended up only two feet above their backs.
This fateful twisting of the stairs saved their lives. Otherwise, the staircase would have landed right on top of them, crushing them all. They only had a 3-by-3-foot hole to crawl out of. And the second floor had become the first.
The family was in shock.
“You never think it’s going to happen to you, but this (April 27) storm made a believer out of me,” Dutch said, thinking back to that day. “Thanks to God, we’re alive.”
So, about a month after they moved into their newly built home, the Boses decided they would invest in a storm shelter. But their shelter was installed shortly after the March 2 storms, so the Bos family rode out these storms with a neighbor.
“I never want to go through something like that again,” Dutch said. “When you live through something like that, storm warnings take on a whole new meaning ... I want to be prepared.”
He and his family now have greater peace of mind just knowing their new storm shelter is just a few feet away.
Another couple, Billy and Rachel Martin, officially moved into the area from Texas last November — “We absolutely love it here,” Billy Martin said. They had already owned their Cleveland home, located off of Dalton Pike, by the time the storms hit last April.
“All these tornadoes all over the place,” Billy Martin said. “We were petrified.”
Although their home received minimal damage, the couple decided to install a storm shelter about a month ago on the grounds of their new home — just to feel safer.
“It’s not been used yet,” Martin said, “and we hope we never have to. ... We bought it for peace of mind.”
It would be a wise move for others, Martin advised, especially if they don’t have a basement to go to for safety. The Martins bought their shelter from the Pritchards, Bob and Amanda, who sell Granger Plastics storm shelters from Ohio through their own company, Integrity Shelters. Granger storm shelters are in-ground shelters made of polyethylene and are guaranteed for a lifetime against cracks, leaks and deterioration.
The Pritchards presented the Granger shelters at the recent home shows in February, Amanda Pritchard said.
“We had a lot of interest,” she said. After disaster victims had time to recover and re-establish their homes and belongings, she added, they have now started thinking about being more “proactive” and are looking into storm shelters to be better prepared for any possible future storms. Inquiries are almost daily. By March of this year, their website had received around 10,000 hits.
Since the home shows, the Pritchards have sold 18 shelters compared to just one in the previous month or two. The Pritchards currently have around six contracts and/or installations for June and 10 for July. A new shipment of shelters is arriving in about a month, but the Pritchards still have some in stock ready to be installed, usually within a week or two — weather permitting. Installation itself only takes three or four hours and the Pritchards re-landscaped the area around the storm shelter themselves. “We’ve had a lot of activity and inquiries.”
The Martins were just one area family who bought from the Pritchards.
“We bought our shelter from the Pritchards because of their customer service,” Martin said. “They are so nice, plus they are a family company. They answered all our questions and then also fixed the landscaping [after the shelter was installed.]”
The Pritchards also said to make sure to let officials know you have a storm shelter so first responders would know to look for you there after a storm.
Granger Plastics reported record sales in 2011. But so far in 2012, sales have reached the same level as all of last year. That means that 2012 will be a record-breaking year for Granger Plastics. But, until recently, Granger Plastics storm shelters were not available locally until the Pritchards formed their company, Integrity Shelters. The Pritchards first became interested in the storm shelters themselves for the protection of their own family and liked the product so much they decided to become distributors.
For more information, call Integrity Storm Shelters LLC at 650-1400 or email the company at firstname.lastname@example.org or access the website at integrityshelters.com.