On July 8th, 2020 an EF4 tornado ripped between the communities of Ashby and Dalton in central Minnesota. With winds swirling as fast as 200mph, the storm left a trail of devastation in its wake. Crops, trees, and homes were extensively damaged. Sadly, one person perished. With the Ashby and Dalton areas already reeling from economic and public health impacts from the current pandemic, starting down the long and emotionally wrought trail of tornado recovery is even more challenging.

As unpredictable as things like tornados may be, the area can find solace in that the Ashby Legacy Fund has been preparing for the unexpected and is always ready to help when in need. In the two weeks following the storm, the Ashby Legacy Fund leveraged its extensive network to raise $72,000 for nine families that were deeply impacted, with one gracious alumnus matching the first $20,000 raised. Over 100 people in the community also donated their time to help with the cleanup efforts.

“We are just heartbroken for the families affected,” Ashby Legacy Fund’s President, Rob Nelson, said. “But one of the best parts about the Ashby Legacy Fund is that we have the infrastructure in place to mobilize our network to help our community when the unexpected happens.”

Executive Director, Heidi Hoff, noted the outpouring of support from those within the community as well as others outside of it. “People got creative. There were garage sales that put out donation buckets, there was a local auction, and several church groups donated. We also had quite a few non-locals who donated after they heard about the devastation through social media. It was just an amazing outpouring of support.”

Nearly a month and a half removed from the storm, the towns have been cleaning up rubble, rebuilding, and focusing on the future. Ashby and Dalton will recover. Strong communities always do. And as the unpredictability of tomorrow looms, these towns can sleep a little easier knowing that an organization like the Ashby Legacy Fund will always be prepared in times of need.

To donate or for more information about the Ashby Legacy Fund, you can visit their website at https://ashbylegacyfund.org/.