Governor Mark Dayton meets with Watkins Community After Tornado Damage
WATKINS -- "I'm so impressed with the way civic leaders in both Litchfield and Watkins have pulled together." Words Governor Mark Dayton had for the community of Watkins as he toured the town to see the damage the tornado left on Monday night.
Dayton first started his tour in Litchfield and ended his stop at Watkins where he thanked community members, law enforcement and victims who survived the storm and volunteers who were working to restore the pieces back together.
One of those volunteers was business owner Sandy Hansen-Wolff. Sandy was out of town visiting her parents when she started to receive text messages asking if she was okay.
After looking at the news, Sandy learned a tornado had hit her hometown of Watkins. Thankfully, no damage was done to her business, AG Venture Feed and Seed, Inc., but she knew others would be affected. As soon as she returned, she started planning community meals and others quickly helped as well.
"By the time I got here today, the whole kitchen was filled with volunteers making sandwiches. I actually had to excuse myself because I was starting to cry. It is just unbelievable and I am so grateful"
The damage the tornado has left will take time to repair, but Dayton says he wants the community of Watkins to know they are not alone during this time.
"Forty-one thousand threshold for the Meeker County I would think is probable. If they qualify then the state pays for 75 percent of the cost and that's why we have emergency services here and they have been here hands on to respond and provide the assistance possible."
Dayton says he can't say for sure at this point if Meeker County will qualify for the federal threshold due to other sites being affected as well. But he says there is enough money in the fund for these kind of disasters.
Sandy Hansen-Wolff says she is glad the governor made a trip to see what happens to communities that he serves.
"To have the governor come and acknowledge all the hard work we are doing is absolutely awesome."
A community now bonded together over a tragedy.