Wisconsin natives were close by when deadly tornado struck

CREATED May 21, 2013 - UPDATED: May 21, 2013

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MILWAUKEE – Imagine being close to a terrifying tornado. It’s something Wisconsin native Tim Marquis does, for fun.

"You just want to get those rare opportunities to see that kind of power and that kind of weather in action," Marquis said.

Marquis, now a graduate student at Iowa State University, is fascinated by tornadoes. He and some college friends decided to chase the storm system that pummeled the Plains and Midwest states.

They even made it to Oklahoma City, and they were just south of the twister in Moore when it touched down.

"All you saw were just cars, in a parking lot and on interstates, were crumbled and dented to death. There was nothing left," Marquis explained.

Marquis is a graduate of University of Oklahoma, and spent most of his time in the theatres and bowling alleys that are now gone.

"It was just a pile of rubble. You couldn't even see the distinct feature of the buildings anymore," he said.

Hartland native Kelly Niemeyer narrowly escaped the twister. She works just a mile from the spot the tornado touched down.

A day before, she and her family had another close call in Edmond, Oklahoma.

"Definitely, this week--and this time of year--you're definitely on your toes a lot," Niemeyer explained.

Her company in Oklahoma City held a food drive, hoping to help families torn apart by the twister.

"You just look at the TV screen, and you just automatically want to start crying, because that could have been your kid," she admitted.

"Our thoughts and prayers are definitely with the victims, and we hope the community can rebound and rebuild stronger than ever," Marquis exclaimed.