- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

WESSINGTON SPRINGS, S.D. (AP) - Residents of a southeastern South Dakota town devastated by a tornado a year ago have expressed sympathy for the people of Delmont, whose town was slammed by a twister this week.

Wessington Springs was hit by a tornado on June 18, 2014. Dozens of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. A tornado crashed through Delmont on Sunday, injuring nine people and damaging or destroying more than 40 structures, including a century-old church and a new firehouse. Work continues to restore electricity to the community of about 200 people.

“You never think it’s going to happen to you,” Wessington Springs Mayor Melissa Mebius told the Argus Leader newspaper (https://argusne.ws/1K40QV6 ). “It was devastating.”

Mebius said she can relate to Delmont’s disaster on two fronts.

“I know firsthand what they’re feeling, as a mayor and a homeowner,” she said.

Wessington Springs has rebounded - all of the businesses and most of the homes have been rebuilt, according to the mayor.

“People in Wessington Springs are resilient,” she said. “We’re strong and coming back better than before.”

Springs Auto was destroyed by the tornado. Business owner Lawrence Caffee said it took about six months to rebuild.

“It’s your life, your little town, and you’ve got to keep it going,” he said.

The town of about 1,000 people is planning an event June 18 to celebrate the community’s recovery a year after its disaster. Money raised through the event will be donated to Delmont relief efforts.

“They’re going to have to stick together and stay positive,” Mebius said. “It’s a sprint in the beginning, but then it’s a marathon. They just need to take the time to shut down and pull together after this tragedy.”

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Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com


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