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Colorado pastor survives tornado, claims “divine intervention”

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HENDERSON, Colo. -- While crews clean up the tornado damage in Branson, Mo., a Colorado man who survived the storm without a scratch is back home with his family in Henderson.

Chad Carroll and friend Johnny Chapman survived a direct hit on their hotel that was devastated by the powerful tornado.

The surrounding rooms were destroyed but their room was not damaged in the storm, and the pair believes it was divine intervention.

In Colorado, Chad's wife Jodie Carroll watched the TV images from the tornado-ravaged Branson as she huddled with her daughters Camryn and Caitlyn, wondering if her husband had survived.

She got her answer Thursday.

She and her daughters were waiting at DIA with a message for him.

"Welcome home daddy! You're safe, hooray," said 7-year-old Camryn Carroll, who’d made a sign for her father with crayons and construction paper.

“Now I know for sure he's fine, and I'm glad,” said Jodie.

"There's daddy...look!” she said as he came into view.

Carroll and Chapman were staying in the hotel while on a business trip.

"It was a harrowing experience as you can imagine,” said Chad.

"It was very surreal,” Chapman echoed.

The twister that hit their hotel had sustained winds exceeding 120 miles an hour.

"You know you hear that it sounds like a freight train rolling through, but it really feels like there's a freight train in your living room,” Carroll said.

“We've heard estimates of $15 million to $20 million damage done to the hotel," said Chapman.

"You just feel the vibrations. You hear the plate glass just cracking off and falling and breaking," Carroll said.

While their room was barely touched they took pictures of the rooms around them that showed torn out walls and furniture scattered like toys.

"We went up there with a security guard,” said Carroll. “(The guard) opened up three units next to us and the one across the hall from us and they were virtually destroyed."

The next day they found out those rooms had been unoccupied.

"A lot of emotion came later for us as the adrenaline wore off and you just kind of realize what's happened,” said Chapman.

Both men are pastors and say the experience confirmed their faith.

"So we really do feel that there's divine favor there and his protection was there," said Carroll.

“Just felt a lot of peace in the midst of it...and just felt a lot of protection,” said Chapman.

And now both men are back to rejoin their families.

"I have no doubt that God protected him, there's no other explanation I believe," said Jodie.

All say their thoughts are with those who didn't make it home.

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