Mayor, State Rep. speak out about extensive tornado damage in Taopi

(ABC 6 News) – Cleanup continues in Taopi Thursday after a tornado hit the area Tuesday night. Now, the community is wondering how they can help. Taopi’s Mayor, Mary Huntley, spoke out about the damage in a press conference amidst the damage.

“We’re gonna have a huge financial need,” she said.

Huntley also explained that the town will face some challenges in the recovery process — from high winds and other difficult weather, to supply chain issues. She’s working on a two-year timeline in regards to rebuilding.

“I would be surprised if we are rebuilt in a year.”

For those who lost their homes, rebuilding has been hard. Brady Voigt, a four-year resident of Taopi, said finding personal items among the rubble has been emotional.

“We all are like family even if we’re not related, and it’s been hard to see us all going through this together. In a way being close-knit has been more painful,” Voigt added.

In neighboring small-town Adams, the American Legion organized a full-scale donation event in just hours.

“Our whole area is about helping each other in need. There are a lot of people that say their hearts are breaking for them. They want to help them in any way they can. And you just need to ask,” said Nancy Lewison, who helped organize the event.

“I have worked in the public sector and the private sector for a long time. I could have never imagined the response we’re having,” Mayor Huntley said of the support.

Volunteers came by the legion for a hot meal, and storm victims picked up free food, boots, clothes, pillows, and toiletries.

State Representative Patricia Mueller was also at the legion, logging donations.

“It is amazing to be part of a community that jumps into action like this,” she said.

Mueller said she is working to inform her colleagues at the capitol, to get emergency funds as quickly as possible.

“Make the governor aware of what’s happening. I do have some colleagues up at the capitol who are asking me how they can help.”

The American Legion can provide immediate financial assistance to members who face tragedy. They encourage those impacted by the storm to reach out to the Adams American Legion at 507-582-3266 because many could qualify for emergency grants.