Editorial - When bad things happen to good people...
In the wreckage that Thursday's tornadoes brought to the communities of Parkers Prairie, Almora, Wadena and Albert Lea is the agonizing question of why.
Why did something so horrible have to happen? Why now? Why one community and not another? Why were some homes obliterated and others untouched?
There are no absolute answers, no precise words of comfort that can take away the pain and bewilderment of those who lost homes, businesses and, most devastatingly, loved ones, in the tornadoes that left three people dead.
In many ways, tornadoes imitate life.
Everything can be going along fine. The daily routines of work, family and community can be comforting, fulfilling, almost lulling. And then, out of the blue, a disaster can strike, whether it's a serious illness, a financial collapse, a sudden job loss, a shattered relationship - or a deadly twister.
In the blink of an eye, lives are turned upside down. Routines are radically changed forever. Some are left only with bits of their lives to try to piece together again.
But at least with a tornado, the destruction is clearly visible - unlike a family's financial, health or relationship troubles that can remain hidden even from those who are closest to them. A tornado gives people a chance to reach out and help others, whether it's a close friend, a neighbor or a complete stranger. And when that happens - people reaching out to help other people - it makes us all stronger, more resilient and more appreciative of the many good things in our lives that can be taken for granted.
Even though the worst of the destruction occurred away from Douglas County, chances are good that most local residents share a connection with those who are dealing with loss, whether it's with the turkey farm owners, Terry and Janet Carlson of rural Parkers Prairie, the family of Margie Schulke, who died in Almora, or the dozens of families who lost their homes in Wadena.
And those connections are bringing everyone closer together to cope with the aftermath. Although volunteers aren't expected to be allowed into Wadena until the end of this week, prayers, encouragement and support are flowing in from all over and started minutes after the tornadoes touched down.
A disaster relief account for victims of the tornado in Wadena has been established at Mid-Central Federal Savings Bank. Individuals who want to make contributions should send them to P.O. Box 152, Attention: City of Wadena, Disaster Recovery Fund, Wadena, MN, 56482.
Individuals or organizations interested in developing fundraisers or benefits to assist the victims should contact Judy Jacobs, (218) 232-6753.
Many people are already doing their part to lend a hand. For instance, Adam Hammer, a friend of Reese Aldrich of Almora who lost his home in the tornado, organized a June 26 concert in Henning to help the Aldrich family. Reese plays with the Alexandria-based rock band, Rockin' Horse Peter (see a related story for concert details). Hammer aptly summed up the situation when he said, "Bad things shouldn't happen to good people, but when they do, we have to do what we can to make it all good again."
Making it all good again. Fitting words to remember in the rebuilding days ahead.
Echo Press editorials are the position of the newspaper's editorial board, which includes Jody Hanson, publisher; Al Edenloff, editor; and news reporter Celeste Beam.