Dalton community members come together for tornado damage cleanup

Cleanup crews clear the area in April Hanson's backyard in rural Dalton, Minn., on Sunday, July 12. Tanner Robinson / WDAY

DALTON, Minn. — As the sun rose on Sunday, July 12, the yard around April Hanson's house looked like a construction project, as 75 volunteers came to help her and her husband, Drew, pick up the pieces left by a tornado on Wednesday, July 8.

"People just started saying, 'I'm coming,' and 'I'm doing this,' and 'I'm going to bring food,' and all the friends and people (were) moving so fast and getting so much done," said Tracy Hanson, April's mother-in-law.

Throughout the morning on Sunday, crews raked and hauled debris away.

"Pretty much anything helps at this point to just get everything out of here," April Hanson said.


Crews raked leftover tree branches and leaves from the grass while cleaning up tornado damage on Sunday, July 12. Tanner Robinson / WDAY

Among the volunteers was Dalton firefighter Chalsey Barry, who had an up-close look at the storm.

"We were right behind the tornado watching it," she said. "Watching it hit your brother's house and not being able to stop it is gut-wrenching."

Thinking about her brother's loss, Barry said seeing this effort unfold cements the reason why she lives here.

"We come together as a community all the time, and if there's something to do and there's a need, everybody's answered it," she said.

April hopes this cleanup helps her and her husband get back into their house sooner rather than later.

"We've had a lot of emotions, but it's a lot of good emotions, and it's just hard sometimes to put into words," she said.

Right now, the Hansons are living with members of Drew's family while they try to make their house livable again.


In the meantime, family members said they were happy to see the community come together to fix what Mother Nature broke.

"We're blessed to have the kids alive, and we're blessed to have all this help," Tracy Hanson said.

Tanner Robinson is a producer for First News on WDAY-TV.
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