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Working Together to Recover

Posted: 05/23/2023

Author: Carol Hedlund

Category: Departments

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By Carol Hedlund, Hudson Township resident and clerk


May 30, 2022, was a quiet Memorial Day. Until.

We were in a tornado watch so all eyes and ears were tuned in to the weather as the clouds got heavier.  Suddenly there were tornado warnings on the radio.  Oh no, I thought, it is coming through Forada.  My daughter-in-law called and said to come to their house to wait it out as I live in a double wide mobile home with no basement, but I would have had to drive right into the path of the storm.  I did not see a funnel, only dark clouds to the ground.  With no time to run I grabbed my little dog, a radio head set and a pillow, and hid in the closet shaking and praying fervently.  There was a LOUD roar (no breaking glass or crashes), just a loud roar and the house shook and trembled!  I was sure it was going to blow apart!  Then it was quiet.  The power was out and as I looked out my living room window to see most of the large trees in my backyard were all torn apart and thrown around.  Thankfully none were on the house; not a single window was broken.  My back door was partially blocked, the south garage door was shoved in, one door was all buckled in, the ranch window was blown out, and the walk-out door was twisted.  I walked out onto the deck—to a disaster zone.  Huge old Oak and Walnut trees blown apart and laying all over.  But my house was standing!  Within a few minutes trucks were driving by with drivers asking if I was okay—firefighters, law enforcement, neighbors, my son’s family.  So many checking on others.  The sun was shining!  All this and we never saw a funnel!  The improbable had happened but I was alive, and I still had a house to live in.  Without a doubt I know God had his hand over my house as there was destruction all around me.  My prayers were heard!  It looked like a war zone, but I was alive to start cleaning up the mess the next day.  Others had it much worse. 

            During the next few days family and even my ex-husband came to cut up and haul away the debris.  And remarkably a group of church friends from Shalom Lutheran Church in Alexandria came three different times through the summer to cut, rake and pile up the brush and logs for me.  I realize God had actually blessed me in the midst of all this—I have my house, am alive with lots of support, and finally have found forgiveness for a marriage breakup.  Only God is that powerful!

            In the months following the tornado, as Clerk of the Township I had to work to complete FEMA forms and work with federal personnel which was very stressful and I became quite anxious, even to the point that it was affecting my physical health.  Viewing the extent of the damage throughout the township was very sobering.  If I became anxious about the event and damage, I am sure the many people that had much more damage must have also felt the stress.  Waiting for insurance companies to evaluate the damage and even give settlements, inability to find a contractor to do the work, and long delays to get replacement materials were all big stressors for those affected by the tornado.  Some lost everything but their lives, many were unable to remain in their homes. For long-term residents to have such drastic changes to surroundings they have known so well was very disheartening. There was so much loss and inability to make things right.  With Emergency Management Director Julie Anderson’s leadership, we formed a Long-Term Recovery group and set about trying to support our citizens and offer ways for them to share their experiences with others, get assistance, deal with their feelings and anxieties and even share a meal.  Working together to help our friends and neighbors helped our group heal and express our feelings as well.  Hudson Township offered residents of the township who had damage the opportunity to purchase 6 to 8 foot trees at half price this Spring to help them replace some they lost; another way to heal. Working together to deal with the situation that happened has benefited all of us.


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