Wessington Springs, SD
Families in Wessington Springs are busy cleaning up after last week's devastating tornado.
Monday, the recovery effort received an extra boost. The volunteer center is now open, allowing more helping hands to come in.
People have been asking how they can help Wessington Springs since a tornado ripped through the heart of town last Wednesday. Now, that help is being welcomed with open arms.
"You watch it on T.V.; you've seen the damage of other tornadoes. You feel terrible for them but when you come up out of your basement and you're standing in the middle of it, it's a whole new, whole new experience," resident Tim Holzwarth said.
People from all over have been filing into town, looking for ways to help.
Tim and John Bloom are brothers from Tyler, Minnesota, and took a day off work to come volunteer.
"We heard about the tornado last week and we've been on a few different tornado recoveries the last couple of years with my family. We had a tornado in 2011 that hit our town, so we know what it's like to go through the devastation and clean-up," Tim Bloom said.
Bloom says he was impressed by the organization of volunteers here. People who come out to help are asked to sign in before getting to work. The Blooms brought chainsaws with them, which is handy for the kind of work that's needed right now.
"A lot of clean-up. Clean-up of debris. Clean-up of blown insulation, wood, loose pieces of really junk," volunteer coordinator Stacey Nelson said.
Even though it's just the beginning, the community says they're thrilled with the help they've seen so far.
"I mean, we can say thank you but it's not enough. But we sure do appreciate it and thank them," Holzwarth said.
"It's the region; it's the state. And we've had people here from Alaska and all over the country, so it's nice that our country will pull together in times like this," Nelson said.
Bloom says from experience, he knows it will continue to get better.
"You will be surprised by the resolve of the people and communities around you. Those who will support you. And if you pull together as a community, you see the support and grow as a community and you'll be able to get through it," Bloom said.
Family and friends who come to town to help out are also asked to sign at the Volunteer Center, located at the Wessington Springs Elementary School on 904 2nd Street Northeast.
Volunteer hours will be 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. daily.