Weather Forecast


Committee forms to help Wadena area residents recover from tornado

A Wadena-Otter Tail Long Term Recovery Committee was recently formed to address the unmet needs of individuals and families in Otter Tail and Wadena counties.

Its mission statement is: "With a spirit of transparency, accountability and collaboration, to strengthen those in need of home, health and hope."

The committee has established a storefront office in downtown Wadena and employed a staff to help residents rebuild their homes and their lives with a special effort to include everyone who can use help in any of the eight affected townships.

Experts in disaster recovery say it will take a minimum of three years to recover from the tornado disaster.

The first and easiest category of unmet needs is financial. If persons were uninsured or underinsured and cannot afford to affect essential repairs, or the replacement of furnishings, appliances, etc., the committee may be able to help.

Secondly, many in the region were traumatized by the tornado and its aftermath. In most cases, having a skilled person to talk to is more important than the money issues, noted committee members. Talking about the disaster can bring about faster healing, they said.

The staff includes: case manager Wendy Molstad, farm advocate Pastor Ken Moenck, volunteer coordinator Tanya Nelson, construction supervisor Tom Roline and administrative assistant Melissa Harne.

If you need help, call or stop in any day between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If you can volunteer to help families rebuild or if you can donate building supplies or equipment, call Tanya Nelson.

The committee welcomes any donation and will participate in any fundraising event. All donations to the Wadena Tornado Relief Fund are tax deductible and will be administered through the Otter Tail Wadena Community Action Council.

A separate committee, Wadena 2.0, is working to address the recovery process for the public structures of the city and county. It's working with the Legislature for community rebuilding funds.