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Red Cross Serves In Wessington Springs

June 20, 2014, 6:11 PM by Sammi Bjelland

Red Cross Serves In Wessington Springs
WESSINGTON SPRINGS, SD -

While people in Wessington Springs sift through the rubble that used to be their family homes, it's hard to imagine worrying about basic necessities like food and water. That's why the American Red Cross has stepped in to help.

It's been a busy few days for the Red Cross. Friday alone they will serve more than 2,000 meals to residents, volunteers and the National Guard in Wessington Springs. They're also handing out comfort kits to give residents who lost everything a little something to help them feel normal again.

"Just getting a chance to do mouth wash. Just to wash your face. Just to have, like you said, cold water, builds spirit," Tony Burke, Sioux Empire American Red Cross Executive Director, said. 

The Red Cross has been stationed in Wessington Springs since Wednesday night after a tornado ripped through the heart of town.

Susan Cook came over from Aberdeen to lend a hand.

"You hear about this, but to see it first hand is different. It is very different," Cook said. 

When they first arrived, Cook says people were so busy cleaning and helping each other, they didn't even take time to get food.

"And so, what we did yesterday is we took wagons, we took four wheelers, we took anything we could put water and snacks in and we went out to the people," Cook said. 

Cook says people are starting to come to them now. They even had a line out the door for lunch on Friday.  One woman waiting in line says the meals have been a morale booster for everyone in town.

"We don't have electricity of course. And a lot of us are, or most us are, out of our houses. And so it's a wonderful thing. And last night, I mean that was a meal fit for a king. And we really appreciate it," Wessington Springs resident Karen Messmer said. 

Even though Messmer isn't sure her home will be salvageable after the storm, she's thankful for the seemingly small stuff that has been life changing the past few days.

"We can't thank them enough for doing this. The Red Cross and The National Guard and everybody that's come to help, it's been wonderful," Messmer said.

The Red Cross says what it really needs now is monetary donations.

To make a donation you can call 1-800-RED-CROSS, stop by a local chapter, or go to the website.  

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