CEO Loses Home, Belongings

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JOPLIN, Mo.-One of the deadliest tornadoes to strike the U.S. in 50 years almost claimed the life of Cindy Atteberry, CEO of Joplin Metro CU.

"I could hear the storm pulling my house off its foundation," said Atteberry, who took shelter with her husband in a secure room in her basement. "It was a horrible sound. My husband was hanging onto the door of our room with everything he had and we thought we were about to be sucked up into the tornado. They said the storm lasted five minutes, but it seemed like an hour."

When the storm passed the Atteberrys were trapped in their basement as the result of debris. Within an hour people stopped by when they heard the two calling for help. "Someone lowered down a ladder," Atteberry explained.

When the CEO climbed out of her basement she saw her house was the only one on the street that was totally destroyed. "It is the only tri-level on the block, which is why I think were the only ones to lose their home."

The CEO said she lost personal possessions that can't be replaced, like her wedding ring. "I had been in the yard working so I took off my ring and put it in my jewelry box that is now someplace else."

But she is thankful that this time she heeded the warnings to take shelter, which she has not always done. "This time it just seemed like something was different. My husband wanted to stay upstairs, but I insisted he come down."

Atteberry said she lived in her house for 17 years and will not rebuild on the site. "The insurance company said it is probably not worthwhile. It will be better just to find a new place."

Atteberry and her husband are staying with their son and daughter-in-law who live in nearby Carl Junction, Mo., until they can find temporary housing.

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