'The only thing that really matters': How a Naperville couple shielded their son from the storm

  • Leandro Saez of Naperville describes the fear of surviving the tornado that left his house on Nutmeg Lane uninhabitable.

    Leandro Saez of Naperville describes the fear of surviving the tornado that left his house on Nutmeg Lane uninhabitable. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/22/2021 4:29 PM

Leandro and Fernanda Saez didn't have time to make it into the basement before the tornado ripped through their Naperville neighborhood Sunday night.

They ran into their son's room on the second floor, grabbed him out of bed and took cover, with Fernanda using her body as a shield. Mere seconds later, her husband said, the windows were blown out, debris was flying through the room, and the door and furniture were falling onto Fernanda, who suffered scratches and bruises on her legs and back. A piece of plywood ended up lodged into the pillow where their son had just been sleeping.

 

"Everything was destroyed," Leandro Saez said Tuesday as he and his wife walked through the property.

The Saez family had just bought and renovated the house on Nutmeg Lane, which is now boarded up and deemed uninhabitable. They sought shelter with a friend the first night and are now staying in a hotel.

The couple re-entered the house to retrieve important documents, clothes, a few toys and any other valuables they could find. But they already had everything they needed.

"I grabbed the most important thing: my son," Fernanda Saez said. "The only thing that really matters."

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