W MI native gets engaged amid TN tornadoes


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Greenville man and his now-fiancee lost their home in the Tennessee tornadoes, but they walked away with an incredible engagement story. 

Seth Wells and Danielle Theophile barely had a chance to take shelter early Tuesday when their house in Cookeville, between Nashville and Knoxville, was ripped from its foundation.

“It was just a bunch of wind and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, we exploded out of our house,” Wells told News 8 over the phone Tuesday. “We traveled in our house. An entire half acre of land in the house while it’s floating, like something out of ‘Wizard of Oz.'”

Amazingly, the two did not suffer life-threatening injuries. Wells credits his military training, beginning with the Future Soldiers program in Greenville, for ultimately getting them out of the rubble and to safety.

“(Danielle)’s like. ‘I’m trapped, I cannot move,’ so I start flinging as much debris as possible, all the time yelling at the top of my lungs to see if anybody could find us,” he recounted. “A lot of my military training kicked in: Just keep going, keep positive, we’re alive, we’ll assess the situation when we are safe.”

>>Storm damage photos

Once the two made it to a neighbor’s home and they had a chance to really grasp what happened, Theophile realized what was really important.

“She was the one that actually proposed to me,” Wells said with a laugh. “She looked at me and said, ‘Will you marry me?’ So it was just right then and there.”

The two will live with Theophile’s family in Tennessee while they work to recover from losing everything. Sadly, their three pets, including a dog, appear to have died in the storm. 

Family members set up a GoFundMe account to help the couple recover from the devastation and eventually plan their wedding.

“I said I really wanted to plan something romantic, but I didn’t realize a natural disaster was going to hurry up this engagement,” Wells added.

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