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Minnesotan sharpens saws, skills helping with Dickinson tornado cleanup

During the past few days, the "whirring" of chain saws has become a common background noise in Dickinson, no longer segregated to just Oct. 31 festivities or cutting wood for recreational use. Yet, after all the trees that needed to be cut down after a Wednesday tornado, the blades were bound to dull.

Then, Tom Stanton, Grand Rapids, Minn. came to the rescue Saturday. Consider Stanton somewhat of a chain saw sharpener philanthropist.

Presenting his services Saturday morning at City Hall, Stanton said the city granted him use of a truck so he could peruse the streets, offering his services.

"I started going to disasters in 2001 with the Siren, Wis., tornado. ... I started sharpening there by hand, with a hand file," Stanton said. "I went home, got an electric sharpener and went back. I spent a total of 14 days in Siren sharpening chain saws, and that's where the whole thing began."

Traveling from one natural disaster to another, Stanton isn't too preoccupied with making money off those suffering from their recent losses.

After sharpening a chain saw for Ross Pastian, a southeast Dickinson resident who's home suffered damage, Pastian naturally asked Stanton what he owed for the service.

"Ah, nothing, don't worry about it," Stanton said.

And the selfless acts continue around Dickinson.

During the whizzing and buzzing of chain saws in the blazing afternoon sun, Twister, Stanton's dainty black dog, was dozing off in the truck box. The dog's moniker is no coincidence.

Stanton said he was sharpening blades for tornado relief in Arkansas when he stumbled upon the homeless pup. Twister now travels with Stanton to twister relief around the country.

"This (tornado) is a huge thing in a small town," Stanton said. "I really wanted to come and help people out, that's my goal."