Small town rallies together after severe weather damage

Small town rallies together after severe weather damage
Published: May. 31, 2022 at 8:46 PM CDT|Updated: May. 31, 2022 at 11:15 PM CDT
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DEER RIVER, MN. (KBJR 6) --Much of Minnesota was hit by severe weather Monday, including a community just west of Grand Rapids, the town of Deer River.

“It’s been an emotional day to say the least,” said Carol Skaja, a 42-year resident of the town. “The Deer River Community has been great, because of all the people that have shown up out of the blue.”

Skaja’s property was hit in Monday’s storms.

“It was like less than two minutes, and it hit, and the wind came,” Skaja said. “And I was closing the back door and the tree came down while I was closing the back door.”

The tight-knit town came out in support of one another. Skaja said her community rallied with her to help clean up.

“Everyone that has shown up has been friends, which means a lot for somebody who has lived here this long and has no family in the community,” Skaja said.

It wasn’t just the residences hit hard by storms in Deer River, but local businesses like the funeral home and post office too.

Angela Williams co-owns Carroll Funeral Home with her husband. She said the devastation to the community is difficult to explain.

“It’s just a shock, I think everybody’s in shock mode, and we just want to get things cleared up, get moving, we’ve owned this building for 25 years, we love this community,” Williams said.

What’s left of the funeral home, which has been around for almost 75 years, will most likely have to be torn down and rebuilt, according to Williams.

While the storm destroyed homes and businesses, it didn’t damage the strength of those who live there.

“I think our community just loves everybody and we’re very small, everybody knows everybody,” Williams said.

There is another location of Carroll Funeral Home in Big Fork, about half an hour away from Deer River.

Williams said they will move operations to that location while repairs are made.

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