Our Opinion: Taopi responders set early tone for quick recovery

Published 5:36 pm Friday, July 29, 2022

Oftentimes, when there is a natural disaster, or even a man-made disaster, a majority of the coverage after the events tends to be the clean-up and wreckage left in the event’s wake.

It is the coverage we’re used to providing and the pictures you’re used to seeing. This was the story following April 12. By now you are probably aware of the details of the EF2 tornado that struck Taopi that night with its surge of 130 mph winds. The destruction that followed affected half the community with many facing the hard road of rebuilding.

The story that sometimes is either under told or sometimes missed all together are those people that respond immediately after the storm. During Tuesday morning’s Mower County Board of Commissioners meeting, Sheriff Steve Sandvik told that story and we’re all grateful he did.

During a ceremony toward the end of the meeting, Sandvik highlighted the work of several people from county employees to ordinary citizens.

These people included public works employees, who responded immediately to the call to help clear debris so that emergency vehicles could enter Taopi. Dispatchers, who operated an increasingly busy web of phone calls that inundated the call center that night. Mower County deputies, who were first on the scene — all were honored for their work in providing order and safety to the situation.

And ordinary citizens like Gary Kasel, who’s fast actions, along with Sgt. Tom Brogan helped rescue Thomas Kasel and Jewel Andree from their damaged home after becoming trapped are part of this work.

Because of these people coming together and executing things so completely and so precisely, Taopi was able to quickly assess and begin the long road of clean up much quicker.

Their actions that night should make us all feel better about the county we live in and the people who work within should we ever have to go through a night like Taopi did on April 12.

Sandvik himself summed it up perfectly when he said: “It’s the kind of community we have in Mower County that we can all be thankful for.”