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Editorial: Help for Wadena needs to continue

Once again, we have a community in need of our help.

And just as we rallied to fight the Red River Valley floods two years in a row, we're reaching out to Wadena now.

That community's long-term needs will be wrenching and ongoing, so we should make a pledge to be there for those neighbors as long as they need us.

That's the only way we survive these natural disasters, with a little help from our friends. Or, in this case, a lot.

Because when the losses set in, the paperwork to recovery grinds on and the heavy lifting seems never-ending, that's when the psychic toll of a natural disaster has a tendency to fall like a fog, shrouding everything it touches.

Anger, depression and frustration set in at the endless pace of any recovery.

In a world of instant media and instant gratification, it's hard to look at the horizon, one that will be many years in the making.

But Grand Forks and East Grand Forks are shining examples of cities that survived similar devastation in the floods of 1997, and came roaring back.

A tornado isn't like a flood because you know the water's coming, but the damage is pretty much the same.

Relief agencies should try to stay as long as possible in Wadena. It's the little kindnesses of a hot sandwich or a cool can of soda that make all the difference in a recovery plan. People have the strength to go on with a little compassion and human kindness.

Wadena needs volunteers, badly. That's just the tip of the iceberg.

Grand Forks residents, 13 years after the floods, still remember with amazement the busloads of Minnesotans that came to sandbag weekend after weekend.

Wadena has a disaster of those proportions on its hands. Send in the buses.

It's when the TV cameras pack up, the daily headlines stop and the everyday disagreements with insurance companies and politicians set in that the recovery turns ugly.

There's no etiquette for tornados, but we sure don't need to converge on Wadena with our digital cameras and video recorders standing in the way gawking.

We need to open our hearts and our wallets. We need to use our arms, legs and backs to move the debris.

But mostly we need to open our ears, because when Wadena residents need to vent, and they will, perhaps the most valuable service we can offer them is a sympathetic audience.