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‘We’re all family’: Residents of little Forada still working to rebuild a month after devastating tornado


FORADA, Minn. — A month ago we were reminded of how powerful and fast summer storms can hit. Several tornadoes touched down in Minnesota.

The strongest hit Forada, near Alexandria in Douglas County, where an EF-2 destroyed 100 buildings.

Sandy Majerus-Lieser and her husband, Greg, do the hard work of moving on after demolishing their destroyed home.

“We’re pretty resilient and we have a sense of humor,” Sandy said.

The storm remains a daily reality in Forada. Some parts of the city look like what happened yesterday.

Sheryl Herschman and her sister, Judy Sellgren-Ehle, returned to Forada, their hometown, in the spring and inherited their family’s campground business.

“We didn’t know we would be baptized by fire, or in this case, wind,” Herschman said.

Their house is uninhabitable. They’re in a hotel while the insurance claims are settled.

“I think the most frustrating thing is not really having direction,” Sellgren-Ehle said. “You’re just kind of acting by the seat of your pants.”

The disaster proved how much the community cares for each other. Neighbors and strangers have stepped up to help their neighbours.

“Our community does that with us,” Sandy said. “Our family and friends do it with us. We are not alone, we have never felt alone.”

The Muddy Boot, a popular bar and grill, handed out food in the aftermath of the tornado.

“It’s very sad to fall [to where the tornado hit]”, said Lacey Nelson, a long-time Muddy Boot employee. “It’s heartwarming to see everyone coming together and helping each other. We’re all family.”

Sandy and Greg will rebuild in the same place no matter what.

“That’s where we want to be,” Sandy said.

Some families have learned the hard way that their insurance doesn’t cover things like tree removal or storm cleanup.

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your policy and work with your agent to find trusted contractors.

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