Clarks Grove, Minnesota is a small community in northern Freeborn County. Similar in many ways to other small towns in the area, this one is dealing with the aftermath of a terrible tornado. The twister ripped through last year, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Windows were boarded up, roofs were in need of repair, the local business district was hit, and even the local water tower was damaged. People in town say they’re coming through the worst of everything.
"Neighbors help neighbors," says local resident Kathy Jensen, "And that really helped the people that lost some things. So, it was a good community that pitched in for everybody. And that helps, you know? Builds up their morale, too."
The old fire facility was damaged in the tornado. The building served many important purposes in Clarks Grove. It’s hoped construction on a new fire facility will begin in July. The town has had a lot of improvising done without it.
Speaking of the old fire facility, Jensen adds, "That’s kind of the community center. You know, where people would have fundraisers or we would have our council meetings there. So, we’ve had to meet in the church because we’ve had no building to have our council meetings."
Bruce Hansen is the mayor of Clarks Grove. He says that while his town’s been through a lot, he’s seen how resilient people in town can be.
"When you drive through town, you’ll see that the residents take good care of their property," he explains with pride, "Keep it neat, clean-looking, and as far as the city, we try to keep our parks clean, neat, mowed, up to date, and usable. And we’ve tried to make it so that if somebody comes in, I’ve had the comment before of a fellow who moved into town. He said they drove around looking for someplace to go and they drove into town. They said the town was just neat and clean and it looked like somebody cared."
Mayor Hansen says the people of Clarks Grove will continue to pull through in difficult times.