Family, who went viral over American Girl doll rescue, spend anniversary of tornado settling into new home

HARRISON TWP. — One year after a tornado ripped the Walker family’s Harrison Township house off its foundation, they have a new home.

“This is hopefully the end of the bad things and the beginning of some really good and positive things,” Beth Wentz said.

She and her husband, Tim Walker, spent the year anniversary of the Memorial Day tornadoes with their two kids, Hendrix and Storm, at their new home in Springfield.

“After a year I think trying to look back and realized that we have moved forward,” Walker said.

The family is still painting and unpacking. This is their third move since the storms.

News Center 7 first met the family about a week after the tornado, when a picture of Tim Walker standing on his damaged roof went viral. He had climbed through the unstable home to rescue his daughter’s American Girl doll.

Now the doll is at the new home.

“She’s never far from Storm’s side,” Walker said.

That is something that stayed the same in a year of change. The family moved into a motel after the tornado. About a month later, they moved into a mobile home, which required the kids to switch school districts.

“It was a rough year. It seemed like every time something positive would happen, a negative would turn around and something would hit us,” Walker said.

Walker and Wentz credit support from friends, family, the community, churches, and therapists for the kids, with helping them move forward.

“I think the stress that comes along with it has kind of changed the dynamic of our whole family. We’re all kind of hurt in ways. But we’re hoping that this will give us a chance to start bringing some positive things into our lives and just be happy again, and be back to what we were before the storm,” Wentz said.

Now the family is excited to have more stability in their new home.

“No one’s going to take it away from us. This is going to be home,” Walker said.

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