Surviving the storm

COMBERMERE – It was a day like any other in Combermere; the sun was shining, the water was warm and spirits were high.

In the late afternoon of August 2, 2006, local cottagers Fina and Nick Van Roon did what anyone would have done on that blistering hot day – they went for some ice cream with their daughter and granddaughter.

They decided to take the boat out for a spin from their trailer at Opeongo Trails Resort to the general store.

Soon after, the family was enjoying their sweet treats when they noticed some dark clouds forming in the sky.

“The sky was getting darker and darker,” Fina said. “So we hurried back.”

By the time they arrived back to the trailer, the power was already out, so they enjoyed a game of cards by flashlight on their daughter’s deck.

Nick said the noise that came after still haunts him to this day.

“Every time you hear a train, it reminds you,” Nick said. “It sounded like a train coming through.”

The weather quickly turned worse and the rain became heavy. The lighting and thunder was coming at the same time and the winds were getting stronger and stronger. A window in the trailer smashed, shattering on Van Roon’s son-in-law who sleeping at the time.

They rushed inside the trailer, all except Nick, who had lost his glasses and hat.

“He was hanging on for dear life to the awning pipes,” Fina recalled.

Once they managed to get Nick inside, a hundred-year old pine tree came crashing down on the opposite end of the trailer.

Get you August 3, 2016 edition of The Valley Gazette to read the full story.