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Gov. Walz visits Taopi; volunteers continue tornado damage cleanup

Published: Apr. 14, 2022 at 11:26 PM CDT
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TAOPI, Minn. (KTTC) – On Thursday, Gov. Tim Walz visited Taopi, Minnesota. Taopi is a small town of about 60 people. The town was destroyed by the EF2 tornado that touched down on Tuesday.

“It’s devastating,” Walz said.

Walz walked around the town surveying the damaged and spoke at the mayor’s home and with people in the community.

“The stories of people who had minutes as they walked down and the side of their house was gone,” he said.

One community member that is picking up the pieces from his home, is Terry Voigt.

“I was in the house on the bedroom floor with my dog. I don’t have a basement so I was stormed out,” he said. “There’s walls there, but the roof is gone. One wall is caved. It’s destroyed.”

Terry is in a manager position at Fleet Farm. Four of his employees who are seniors at Mayo High School came to help their boss clean up debris.

“It sounded like a bad situation so we just decided that we should come out and help them out,” said Mathew Myren.

“Came out and did what anybody needed us to do,” said Bennett Ellsworth.

“When you come out here, everything is torn apart. Like houses are completely down. It’s crazy,” said Max Vandekieft.

“When you’re picking up all that debris, especially with him [Terry], we saw his mom’s bible. So it’s like you’re picking up pieces of someone’s life. It’s not just a house,” said Spencer Pearson.

After Walz walked around the town he told KTTC that he was thankful no one died from the tornado.

“And then pouring of support from across the state on the cleanup,” he said. “The work that’s being done out here in cold windy conditions to help neighbors it’s pretty inspiring.’

“It’s good to help people who are always there to help us. It’s small-town support basically,” Morgan Jasper, a Taopi resident.

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