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“We’re all family”: Residents in tiny Forada still working to rebuild one month after devastating tornado


FORADA, Minn. — One month ago, we were reminded of just how powerful and fast summer storms can strike. Multiple tornadoes touched down across Minnesota.

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

Sandy Majerus-Lieser and her husband, Greg, are doing the difficult work of moving forward after demolishing their destroyed home.

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

The storm remains a daily reality in Forada. Parts of town look like it just happened yesterday.

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

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

Their home is uninhabitable. They’re in a hotel while insurance claims are sorted out.

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

The disaster has proven how much the community cares for one another. Neighbors and strangers have stepped up to help their fellow neighbors.

“Our community’s doing this with us,” Sandy said. “Our family and friends are doing it with us. We’re not alone, by no means have we ever felt alone.”

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

“It’s very sad going down [to where the tornado hit],” said Lacey Nelson, a longtime employee at the Muddy Boot. “It’s heartwarming though to see everybody pulling together and helping one another. We’re all family.”

Sandy and Greg will rebuild in the same spot, whatever it takes.

“This is 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 be familiar with your policy and work with your agent on finding trusted contractors.



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