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July 02, 2014 06:00 PM

Wessington Springs Relief Fund Nears $80,000

Wessington Springs, SD

Wednesday marks two weeks since an EF-2 tornado ripped through the heart of Wessington Springs.

Approximately, 15 Wessington Springs homes were blown away. Another 44 received significant damage in the storm displacing 77 people.

"It's been tough," John Niemeyer said.

14 days after a destructive tornado demolished most of the homes on his street, John Niemeyer is one of the few homeowners able to live in his house.

"We were only out for one night," Niemeyer said. "We got to get back in our own beds and you almost feel guilty about it."

Contractors and insurance adjusters now drive the quiet roads. With donations nearing $80,000 to help his neighbors, Niemeyer couldn't be more grateful.

"It's just great," Niemeyer said. "It's great. I hope we can put it to good use."

"It's surpassing anything that we even knew existed out there," Mayor Melissa Mebius said.

Wessington Mayor Melissa Mebius says all of the money donated to the Wessington Springs Relief Fund will go directly to homeowners.

A committee is set up to distribute the donations. Mebius says they met for the first time Tuesday night.

Families must apply for the assistance and the committee will use a point system to ensure the money goes to families who need it most.

"Overall, I think everyone is just staying positive and just thinking about moving forward," Mebius said.

While Neimeyer is happy for the money the relief fund has received, he knows the city has a long way to go to get back to normal.

"There was ups and downs and deep downs," Niemeyer said. "Now people are starting to smile again."

To donate, go to www.redcross.org and designate your donation for Wessington Springs. You may also call 1-800-Red-Cross.

Donations may also be dropped off at American Bank & Trust locations in Wessington Springs, Alpena, Huron, Wolsey, Miller, Huron-Walmart, Pierre, Mellette and DeSmet. 

They will be forwarded to the Red Cross.

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