Diamond family with newborn tries to rebuild after tornado

Friday, November 29, 2013
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The tornado outbreak devastated many Illinois families. But losing their home was secondary to what wasn't lost for one couple.

Washington IL Tornado Damage Photos from Chopper 7HD
PHOTOS: Storm, tornado damage in Frankfort, Washington, Pekin, Coal City, Illinois

Their daughter: nicknamed "tornado baby". She arrived home from the hospital just one day before the family's house was destroyed.

Like so many others, the Eatons endured storm trauma, lost belongings, and have found themselves temporarily displaced. But what is most precious, a newborn's life and the gift of kindness, have one young couple saying "thank you" over and over.

When she's old enough to comprehend, Ariana Eaton will someday probably be amazed that she not only survived a tornado, but slept through the whole thing. Ariana was just three days into this world when mom and dad Mari and Jason Eaton heard the sirens at their home in Diamond and quickly headed to a nearby relative's house where there's a basement. They all made it through.

"It was scary. I was afraid we wouldn't be here," said Mari Eaton.

When they returned to their weather-scarred home, Mari and Jason found the baby's room trashed and most of their belongings blown to the wind - sentimental things gone. In the days that followed they - like other tornado families - have been overwhelmed by the strength of family and the generosity of strangers.

"Phone calls from strangers," said Jason Eaton.

Mom, Dad and baby are with family, having celebrated a Thanksgiving with a meaning deeper than ever. And that helps with the chore ahead - rebuilding the house - reappointing room for baby.

In the baby's room, covered in shattered glass, shards of wood and ruined shower gifts, a relative found Ariana's birth information on a card with her tiny footprints. Something else to be celebrated years hence when they talk about the tornado that Ariana slept through.

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