Around 80 troops with the Iowa National Guard have been helping stranded motorists since the winter storm started rolling through the state. A family from northwest Iowa is back on the road thanks to guardsmen who came to their rescue near Urbana in eastern Iowa.

Michael Wilson says he was driving the family’s van Wednesday night when it hit a patch of ice on I-380. “We were going about 35 miles an hour, so I wasn’t pushing it hard at all and we just jumped in the ditch,” Wilson said.

The family is traveling to Ohio to see family for the holidays. When they started out on their trip, Michael said there was little snow and they thought they’d be able to get out of the state before things got bad. Moments after the van entered the ditch, Michael called for help, not knowing how long they would have to wait.

In a short time, a Humvee arrived with four members of the Iowa National Guard, including Sergeant First Class John DeVore. “We got all loaded within three minutes,” DeVore said. “We got there and we knocked on the door and opened up the van and they were all smiling because we showed up.”

Michael, his wife Sara, and their three children and the family dog were given blankets and snacks and a ride to a nearby hotel. An employee at a local auto garage took the family back to their vehicle Thursday to collect some belongings and made a stop at a grocery store before returning the Wilson’s to their hotel.

The van was eventually pulled from the ditch and the Wilson’s were able to resume their holiday trip this morning. “You know people from Iowa, as a whole, have a reputation of being friendly and the people we ran into just really affirmed that,” Michael said. “We’re just on a fun adventure,” Sara added.

By Addison Speck, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids