Kirkland community comes together to help woman after tree smashes into home

Kirkland community comes together to help woman after tree smashes into home (PHOTO: KOMO News)

Neighbors offered to help a Kirkland woman when she needed it the most.

"I had so many people yesterday out loving me and calling me," said Erika Wolfkill outside her Kirkland home.

Word spread quickly Sunday in the wooded Kirkland neighborhood, that Wolfkill's house was split in half by a giant Douglas Fir.

As fast as the tree came down, neighbors like Evelyn Bundesmann and Pam Peterson rushed in to help.

"I think there were 20 people here," said Bundesmann.

Even KOMO viewers, who heard this widow's plight during our live broadcast of storm coverage Sunday morning, wanted to help.

"To realize how sincere your team was and to have all these calls coming in," said Bundesmann. "There were phone calls and text messages, with all stuff going on it's nice to see people care."

All those helping hands salvaged and cleaned what was safe to do inside her home, the tree was de-limbed, debris hauled away, the holes in the roof protected with a giant blue tarp, and Wolfkill is being housed and fed by neighbors and family.

"I didn't know what to do — I had no clue," said Wolfkill.

She was overjoyed by the help and community support Sunday, but Monday — stepping inside the only home she's known for 51 years, it hit her.

Her voice cracked and tears followed.

She talked about the memories made in this place; every room reminding her of those five decades, raising children and when her husband was alive.

"I feel sad with what is going on,” said Wolfkill, who quickly turned it around to remember. “But I have lots of neighbors and friends that have been wonderful to me.”

She holds on to that, but it’s still tough.

The hard part now is she's in a holding pattern — she desperately needs a crane.

She's been told the tree can only be removed by crane and cutting it up without that support could damage the house even more.

The tree broke through the ceiling in her living room, dining room and one bedroom. The fan that was on the roof is now dangling above her living room.

She said she was told the house has been deemed dangerous, which means she can't live in it or make any repairs until the tree is gone.

She's stuck until a crane surfaces.

Wolfkill admitted she's feeling impatient, but knowing her life was spared — she insisted that makes it okay and gives her the strength to soldier on.

"I still think the Lord has another plan for me," said Wolfkill.

She knows she'll be okay, because this 78 year old has survived much worse. Wolfkill survived her family being separated in East Germany, escaped from a concentration camp as a child with her family, lost her beloved husband in the early 90s and beat breast cancer in 1991.

Add in her faith, family and community support and it’s enough to make this widow know everything will be okay.

"I just got to believe tomorrow is going to be better — tomorrow is going to be wonderful," she said.

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