(PROWERS COUNTY, Colo.) — Southern Colorado has only officially recorded three EF3 tornadoes since recent records began in 1995. The EF3 strength category is not easily, or commonly, achieved here in Colorado due to a number of meteorological reasons but every now and then the necessary parameters line up perfectly.

This is exactly what happened on June 23 of this year when the DuVall family took a direct hit from one of the most powerful twisters to ever hit Southern Colorado. The devastating tornado tore through rural Prowers County around 5:30 p.m. – destroying the DuVall’s ranch as the family sheltered in their basement.

DuVall Ranch – courtesy of NWS Pueblo

Thankfully Myrna and John, who had lived and worked on the ranch their whole lives, got a lifesaving phone call from the National Weather Service in Pueblo. Meteorologists with the NWS knew this life-threatening twister was on the ground and they also knew that folks in those rural areas may not necessarily have reliable cell signals to receive warnings.

Therefore, they personally called the DuValls on their landline, when they knew a direct hit was imminent – potentially saving all three of their lives.

EF3 Prowers County tornado June 23, 2023 – courtesy NWS

John, Myrna, and their daughter got to the basement just in the nick of time closing the door behind them as the monster tornado decimated everything on their property. The three of them would survive with little to no injuries. However, the Duvalls sadly lost multiple animals including several heads of cattle, goats, and dogs that roamed the property.

The tornado would ultimately be on the ground for almost an entire hour and traveled just over 10 miles. This was a rather slow-moving tornado and likely lingered over the DuValll’s property for many minutes destroying multiple structures and their home.

After the devastating incident, the family chose to immediately pick up the pieces and begin the rebuilding process. They got to work the very next day as an outpouring of support came from the community. Everyone came together and helped them through these difficult times in a number of different ways.

“You know, when you come from the lineage that we come from – every day is a struggle” John reflected on the life-threatening tornado. “You just move forward. You can’t give up; you can’t go backward. You just gotta… you know.”

One of the ways the community is rallying around the DuValls is through a couple of different donation sites set up for them.

The first is through TBK Bank. A press release from the Prowers County Administrator noted that “individuals interested in helping the DuVall family can contact any TBK branch for information on how to donate.” That link can be found here.

Additionally, the Prowers County Administrator said, “Community State Bank in Lamar has also set up a donation account for the DuVall family.” That link can be found here.

One thing that John DuVall wanted the FOX21 team to know was, that he didn’t want anyone to be scared. He wanted to grow from the disaster and thank everyone for helping him and his family.