WATCH: Off The Beaten Path

SCHLEICHER COUNTY, TX - Over the weekend West Texas experienced one of the most devastating tornadoes in recent memory. 

Much of San Angelo especially the city's north side along with Runnel's county took a huge hit. But if you go about 30 miles south of San Angelo between Tom Green County and Schleicher County on County Road 431 a ranch where an 80-year-old home along with a property filled with aged oak trees stood currently sits in ruins. 


Ranchers Gerry and Cecilia Gessell survived the tornado that blazed through their property in the wee hours of Saturday morning. 

Gerry said the tornado came and went in about 10 seconds. "If I had to say what it felt like when the door threw me into the wall it felt like being kicked by a horse, but by a big and very powerful horse," says Gessell.

As most of San Angelo has shared its views on social media regarding the city's alert system that's moved on from the use of sirens, according to Gessel he and his wife received no alert that a tornado was approaching their home. 

"When I talked to the sheriff's office and told them that we just had a tornado," says Gessell. "They said that they had a warning and then removed the warning because they didn't show any signs so it was more a severe weather forecast. We were awake watching the radar so we knew the weather was bad, but as far as the tornado we didn't' have any warning. It came so fast and left so fast that a warning wouldn't have helped."

Whether we think about it or not the roads we take give our lives meaning. After all, they get us from point a to point b. When it comes to mother nature the roads she takes are the ones she creates. When it came to touching down and turning the Gessell's lives upside down, mother nature showed no borders. 

"People always assume because we're out in the middle of nowhere that we're safe," says Gessell. "That tornado had every chance to go left or right or just go away but instead it came directly over our house."

Although the Gessell's belongings may have been taken by the storm, the tornado looked the other way when it came to lives of the many animals on the ranch.

"I think that that house had a reason for protecting us but it's minor that we had 23 dogs and in the dog kennels and not one dog was harmed and not horse was hurt," says Gessell.

As they Gessells begin to pick up the pieces of the remains on the ranch he and wife reflect as they survived ten of the most horrific seconds they've experienced. 

"I've experienced every level of grief that you can imagine," says Gessell. But I just think it has to do with that we weren't meant to go."


Subscribe to the LIVE! Daily

The LIVE! Daily is the "newspaper to your email" for San Angelo. Each content-packed edition has weather, the popular Top of the Email opinion and rumor mill column, news around the state of Texas, news around west Texas, the latest news stories from San Angelo LIVE!, events, and the most recent obituaries. The bottom of the email contains the most recent rants and comments. The LIVE! daily is emailed 5 days per week. On Sundays, subscribers receive the West Texas Real Estate LIVE! email.


Most Recent Videos

Post a comment to this article here:

X Close