When the Woracek twins were 3 years old, they wandered out of their South Omaha home into the bitter cold. They nearly froze to death. They meet their rescuers for the first time.
Tom Woracek woke up early Jan. 17, 1997, to get ready for work. It was 4 a.m. and he noticed something awry in the house.
“I just saw the lights on and front door open and hand prints on the door,” Woracek recalled. “I yelled for Marlene, ‘the girls are gone’ and we started looking. I didn’t know where to look. I saw footprints but once I got down to the street, there were too many prints to follow so it was scary.”
The Woraceks called 911 and at 4:03 a.m., dozens of Omaha police officers swarmed the area near 13th and Center streets. There was a half-foot of snow on the ground and the temperatures were below zero.
Forty-six minutes later, the officers found the girls in an alley off Center Street. Kourtney was on top of her sister, Jennifer, who had taken off her coat. Officer Troy Kister said their cruiser got stuck on the icy hill and when he got out, he saw fresh little footprints in the snow and followed them.
“We walked down the alley and that’s how we found you. Because we got stuck in the snow, ” Sgt. Troy Kister said. “We found the shoes first and we looked up and we could tell further down that’s where they were at. When you first see that shoe, OK, this is getting worse, shoes and no kids and it’s cold out,” Kister said.
Kister said Kourtney looked up at them and said, “Help my sister.” No time to wait for an ambulance, the officers rushed the girls to the hospital in their police cars.
The twins spent days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and months getting physical therapy. They suffered from hypothermia and severe frostbite on their hands and feet. They did not lose any toes or fingers.
The twins described the effects of the severe frostbite. “We had to relearn how to walk again. We had blisters,” Jennifer said. Kourtney said she remembers the painful physical therapy. “I remember saying to someone, why do I have to walk again? It was that painful,” Kourtney Woracek said.
Despite the pain, both tried to play college soccer. They also suffer from arthritis.
( Read the rest of this miracle which is a good news story.)