Owatonna is the place I have called home my entire life and now I have the joy to photograph people and events. Last week southern Minnesota was hit with tornadoes, we lucked out in Owatonna and only had straight line winds. If you talked to the people with damage from fallen trees or those who went without power for days, they may not agree that we were lucky. I agree fallen trees and going without electricity is a pain, but I feel Owatonna was incredibly lucky. We are lucky because when people were in need our true colors shined through the doom and gloom.
A bright spot in the aftermath of the storm was when a small restaurant stepped up and offered a free hot meal to those working long hours in the cold to restore power. The Black Sheep Burgers and Brew posted on Facebook that they would supply the sandwiches and asked the community if they would help by donating items water and items for sides. This is how my kiddos got involved, we picked up a few things to drop off at The Black Sheep. While we were there another local business, Cedar Floral stopped in to donate money to offset the cost of food. Both of the owners of The Black Sheep came out to greet my kids and thank them for their support and donations. My kids left the restaurant beaming, you would have sworn they had just had ice cream from the smiles on their faces. What the owners of these two local businesses didn’t see was the impact they had on my kids. The ripple effect had started and Jake (5) and Ellie (3) wanted to keep it going so we parked our car on a street near the damage and set out to help. We started picking up branches that were on the road and sidewalks. This is when we saw another ripple. A person got out of their car with a case of water and walked up to a house that had an enormous fallen tree. They handed the owner the water and just wanted to let them know that people were thinking of them.
Fast forward a few hours and it was time for the delayed homecoming parade. Gone was the gloomy morning, the had sun came out in full force for the parade as if to show the healing that was happening. We are lucky to have so many people willing to give of their time and energy when another person is in need. For all of this, thank you.