Some more fortunate than others

Minneapolis tornado survivor Cathy Stolte shares her harrowing story with Red Cross volunteer Dave Schoeneck. Photo credit: Jason Viana/American Red Cross

Kathy Stolte was working on a cross word puzzle Sunday when she heard a crashing sound. She grabbed her dog and headed for the basement, but the tornado had already passed her north Minneapolis bungalow, leaving behind a path of twisted trees, broken homes and destruction.

Kathy, her husband, and her dog were fortunate — no injuries, just property damage. Part of the roof of their home blew off, and rain soaked the insulation, making the house uninhabitable. Her son’s car was skewered by a five inch tree branch, from windshield to floorboard. The worst damage was to the garage, parts of which currently reside in her neighbor’s kitchen.

Red Cross volunteers are providing water and snacks to people helping to remove debris after the May 22 tornado in Minneapolis. Photo credit: Jason Viana/American Red Cross

On Wednesday, as repair crews from the City of Minneapolis were hauling away the remains of large trees from their block, and crews from Xcel Energy were restoring electric power to their block, Kathy was grateful when a Red Cross disaster team from the St. Croix Chapter of the American Red Cross came down the street, offering food and water to anyone who needed it. Eric Nickolai and Sherm Boucher were busy handing out water, sandwiches, energy drinks and fruit to residents, volunteers, and work crews.

While Kathy faces weeks before her house can be reoccupied, she is one of the lucky ones who had homeowner’s insurance and has a place to stay temporarily. Hundreds of others were out trying to salvage their belongings and working to find food, clothing and shelter for themselves and their families.

(Reporting by Red Cross volunteer Dave Schoeneck)

Letter from Alabama

(Guest Post from Karen & Rick Campion)

Some of you already know this information, but we wanted to update everyone at the same time. We are deployed by the Red Cross to the Alabama tornadoes for up to three weeks.

We are on the Disaster Assessment team – the first Red Cross representatives on site to do initial damage assessments.  Our data gets relayed to the Red Cross Command Center and then on to FEMA. We’re using new technology – hand held collection units.  The info is used to assess future aid and services needed.

So far, we’ve been assigned to gather data in 3 counties, which includes the city of Huckleburg.  Most of the homes here were destroyed and there is no electric and limited cell phone coverage.

We’ve included a couple pics of what we’ve seen.  One of the interesting sights in the middle of town was the cemetery.  Headstones had beautiful flowers completely untouched and the grass was perfectly manicured.  Total chaos surrounded the cemetery.

The affected people are doing amazingly well (at least for now).  They are very gracious and appreciative of those who have come to help.  Keep them in your prayers.

Take care,
Karen and Rick

All hands unload at the Red Cross


The Red Cross relies on multiple generous hands during disaster response. Behind the scenes hands include the folks who locate water and food donations, the people who are around to help unload the relief supplies when they arrive, and the person who grabs a camera running after those who are doing the heavy lifting, literally. xoxo, redcrosstc

Pallets upon pallets of donated water, juice, and snacks arrive Friday afternoon at the Red Cross in Minneapolis. These items are to feed hundreds of people who will be sand bagging on Saturday as part of flood mitigation. Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross


Red Cross workers unload snacks that sand baggers will be grateful to have. Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross
11 pallets, 10868 pounds. They're getting a work out! Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross
Even the best of the best lends a hand to the off load. Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross
Thank you, Target, for your donation. Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross
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