Cleanup continues in Wessington Springs - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Cleanup continues in Wessington Springs

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The community of Wessington Springs is not going to let Mother Nature win. Everyone is pulling together and helping each other to pick up the pieces. 

"My house is actually on the other side of the street here but it ended up in the backyard. Most of this stuff you see here is mine," said Andrew Miller, whose house was destroyed by the tornado.

Andrew Miller and his girlfriend Justine Hanson moved to Wessington Springs just two months ago for Miller's job. Today, they're sorting through the rubble with family by their sides.

"We're both from Luverne, Minnesota actually so we've got family at home that's actually dealing with all the flooding that's going on and everybody's -- all our family -- has water in their basement and they're neglecting that coming out here to help us," said Miller.

Right now the community of Wessington Springs is still not open to the public. Only family and friends of people in town are being let in to help sort through possessions and clean up the biggest pieces of debris. But people from outside the community are still offering their support in other ways.

"I've had a couple people offer me campers that I don't even know for the time being and we can't thank those people enough," said Miller.

The city's mayor says they will be asking for volunteers to come help with the debris soon and will make that announcement shortly. While it's a big job ahead for everyone, the people who lost their homes says they're just grateful that's all they're dealing with.

"Super lucky that we lost stuff that's replaceable. Most of what we lost is replaceable," said Miller.

The Jerauld County Sheriff and the Wessington Springs Fire Chief have known each other for 30 years. They say that bond has kept them strong and positive during this time.

Sheriff Jason Weber and Fire Chief Jim Vavra look from afar at their tornado-hit town. They've had brave faces on since before the tornado hit -- making sure their community is safe.

"It's an experience to go through alone but just the experience itself has been a heck of a ride. But to do it together has been rewarding.Rewardingg. He's done a good job," said Sheriff Weber.

The fire dept. and sheriff's office worked as a team in sounding the tornado sirens with enough time for everyone in Wessington Springs to take shelter.

"We were in communication with them of how close it was. We kept going around town trying to get everybody into houses that were still outside. We were in communication with them all the time telling them to keep blowing the whistle," said Fire Chief Vavra.

"We worked close together in the initial response in warning to when the tornado hit and throughout this whole cleanup process and now we can sit back and I think probably pat ourselves on the back. I hate to be egotistical but darn it we worked together and our planning come through and hopefully our actions saved lives and I'm proud of that," said Sheriff Weber.

The continuing hard work from both Sheriff Weber and Fire Chief Vavra from before the tornado touched down to cleanup after the tornado has proven to be successful -- no one was seriously injured.

"When you have a good friend with ya and you're both going through it for the first time, it's good to know that you're not the only one there that's kind of the first time for this deal," said Fire Chief Vavra.

Both say communication has been instrumental in the recovery process and they have no doubt Wessington Springs will be back to 100%. 

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