WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 19, 2010, 01:29 PM

Victim of Mentor tornado saved his daughter's life

Mentor, Minn. (WDAY TV) - It is one of the most tragic and touching stories to emerge from the storms. Heidi Michaels says her father Wes Michaels gave his life to save hers. Wes died when a tornado destroyed their gas station in Mentor, Minnesota. Reporter David Schwab has Heidi's story.

By: David Schwab, WDAY

Heidi Michaels was recovering from her injuries at Riverview hospital Crookston today. She was hurt when a tornado hit the C-store gas station in Mentor Thursday night.

Heidi Michaels: “Worked a couple of hours and then the weather started to get bad.”

Concerned about Heidi, her dad Wes Michaels, who owned the business, came in on his 58th birthday to make sure every thing was OK. Heidi says a short while later the town's emergency siren went off.

Heidi Michaels: “My dad went outside, looked and then came running back inside and said it was heading right towards us. Get into the cooler.”

Heidi says when the power went out, they fell to the floor and 5 to 10 seconds later the tornado was gone.

Heidi Michaels: “I called for my dad to come and save me, get me out because I was stuck and didn't realize he had already saved me because he was behind me. He took the brunt of the force.”

Heidi called for help, a neighbor arrived quickly, but there was nothing that could be done to save Wes.

“We couldn't save him, He saved me.”

Heidi says she is not surprised her father was there because he has always been there for her and her two sisters.

“He sacrificed his life. He is the biggest hero and I love him so much for doing that.”

Heidi is out of the hospital. A customer in the store when the twister hit, Patricia Wilbur, is in satisfactory condition.