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Iowa woman says she’s ‘lucky to be alive’ after being trapped under house

GREENFIELD, Iowa — Cheryl Ringer hid in her basement as the tornado crushed her home on May 21 in the deadly Greenfield tornado. Once the storm had passed, she found herself trapped and could see only a few small rays of daylight.

“I noticed that I couldn’t move my legs because there was cinder blocks on them,” Ringer said.

Her home is still in pieces. The debris is piled up in a hole that used to be her foundation — and it’s what served as her safe space. Buried under the rubble, she was able to put her hand up and wave for a neighbor to come help.

Ringer’s son, Daniel Ringer, lives only a few blocks away and lost his house, too.

“I was thinking, how do I get to her and what am I supposed to do?” he said.

When he saw what was left of his mother’s home, he didn’t know how first responders would get her out.

“As soon as I got there, I seen a rescue crew there and I just yelled at them saying my mother’s trapped in the basement, and I’m sitting there trying to dig stuff out, and they said no stop, because you could cave it in on them,” Daniel Ringer said.

Ringer’s insurance company placed her in a former nursing home that is now being used as an apartment building — a few miles west of Greenfield in Fontanelle.

But she says it’s just temporary — and has high hopes of returning home.

“The town is just a wonderful town to raise children, and I hope it will be Greenfield strong and come back again,” Cheryl Ringer said.

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