Prairie Patriots to the rescue

Local News

Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken is putting out the call for more volunteers to help with tornado clean up.

He’s also asking companies with the proper equipment to help move branches to drop off sites.

“Yesterday, 211 Helpline Center received about, almost 500 calls related to the storm. 230 of those were people who are needing help. 131 of those were people volunteering to help. So I’d like to flip the script on that a little bit,” Mayor Paul TenHaken said.

There are people answering that call for help.

Who you gonna call when a twister hits? The Prairie Patriots are on the scene.

This patriotic group made up of mostly veterans, former law enforcement and government workers is strictly volunteer; 1,500 members in South Dakota strong.

The Prairie Patriots have stocked this converted ambulance with just about anything you’d need during a disaster and response following one, including radio communications, a wheelchair and generators.

“We have chainsaws; we have heavy vehicles; we have winching equipment. We have people who are trained in how to properly use these,” Thor Bardon of Prairie Patriots said.

“I thought oh, my goodness, where did the branches even come from?”  Konstanz said.

Donna Konstanz called 211 after surveying the damage in her backyard.

“You couldn’t even see the lawn. I thought, how am I going to get rid of this?” Konstanz said.

Konstanz just had hip surgery.

“This would have been a challenge for me, trying to get things done on my own,” Konstanz said.

The Prairie Patriots slogan of “neighbors helping neighbors” has never rang more true.

“The reward is knowing that we are making change within our community. We’re helping people in their time of need,” Bardon said.

Dozens of Prairie Patriot volunteers will work through the weekend to help clean up the city.

“It’s an amazing feeling to know that we’re helping someone,” Bardon said.

“We are a great community. This happened and the next day people are out and about helping others,” Konstanz said.

While our cameras were there, the Prairie Patriots got a call to help in Madison.

The Prairie Patriots have several different response teams, including ones for water rescues and aerial searches.

They rely strictly on volunteers and donations.

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