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July 14, 2014 10:05 PM

FEMA Visits Wessington Springs

Wessington Springs, SD

Federal, state, and local leaders are tallying up the damage totals from June's severe weather.  Many areas of KELOLAND are still in rough shape, including Wessington Springs.

"It's unreal, you know.  Once it happens to your town," Jevon Hohn, Jensen Construction, said.

There is no ceiling to the number of roofs that need repairs.  His third summer on the job with Jensen Construction, Hohn and the rest of his crew were on top of a house fixing what a tornado tore apart.  It appears Hohn has a lot to get done.

"It's not like we're just taking off shingles and replacing them.  It's shingles that ripped off and need to be replaced before the rain comes," Hohn said.

FEMA is doing a different kind of work, as it visits 12 counties and Indian Reservation to get preliminary assessments for damages.

"The first thing you think about when I look at all the damage is how heartbreaking it is to the people who live here," Jim Russell, FEMA, said.

While in Wessington Springs, Russell will check out city and county buildings, roads and other parts of the infrastructure here.

"It's more than just looking.  We're trying to say what's it going to bring it back to what it cost, or what it was like originally," Russell said.

Once this is done, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard will use these findings in his request for a federal disaster declaration.

"What it does is it allows people to bring their lives back to the way it was before the disaster as much as possible," Russell said.

As the town continues to recover, a work philosophy seems to double as words of wisdom in the town of Wessington Springs.

"It's not too hard to keep going.  It's just got to be done.  Just get it done, I guess," Hohn said.

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