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WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 25, 2011, 07:44 AM

Wadena residents understand what tornado victims are going through

Wadena, Minn. (WDAY TV) - The images of those tornadoes and the destruction are incredible to see for most of us, but imagine living in Northwood or Wadena. Both communities experienced devastating tornadoes.

Wadena, Minn. (WDAY TV) - Powerful storms are again, rolling through Middle America. So far, tornado warnings and a series of warnings are in a dozen states. This follows Tuesday's deadly storms, where 15 people died in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas.

A storm system produced 36 tornadoes in 7-states. In Oklahoma City, 9 people died after 3-tornadoes touched down. In Joplin, Missouri the death toll is now up to 125. 900-people have been injured.

The images of those tornadoes and the destruction are incredible to see for most of us, but imagine living in Northwood or Wadena. Both communities experienced devastating tornadoes.

This spring has seen a constant parade of images of tornadoes and the devastation they leave across the Southern US. Nearly one year ago, a similar scene was played out right here in Wadena when an EF4 tore through the West side of the city.

LISA STROEING - Tornado Survivor: “We heard over Tim's radio that a tornado was coming. So then we got in our little shoe closet our hallway closet and rode it out I guess you could say.”

And the Stroeing kids have taken notice of this spring’s twisters.

LISA STROEING - Tornado Survivor: “I try not to have it on because the kids hear tornado, their ears perk up and then they kind of freak out and I try to explain that it's really far away but they don't understand that.”

But they don't need the news to recall last summers storm

LISA STROEING - Tornado Survivor: “You know when we look out our window, it replays everyday. You see what happened. So it's hard not to think of that.”

On this lot used to be an apartment building and a row of mature trees behind it. And the scar left by the tornado here was just too emotional for some people in town to talk about.

RICK JOHNSON - Tornado Survivor: “I even found a box of baseball cards I didn't even know I had.”

Rick Johnson's house was destroyed by the tornado. In his new house and garage he is still going through boxes of belongings packed by volunteers he did not know. The images this spring invoke a different emotion in him.

RICK JOHNSON - Tornado Survivor: “Makes me want to get up and go and help them because we had so much help here from people from all over, not just Wadena or Wadena County. It was from Fargo, and Minneapolis and Litchfield and all over the state came and all they wanted to do was help.”

Back at the Stroeing's, new trees are going in to replace ones lost.

“This used to be a very shaded yard.”

As the process of rebuilding goes on, something that will just be starting in cities across the south.

“You know what they're going through and what they will go through for months if not years.”

June 17th will mark the one year anniversary of the tornado in Wadena.

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