Neighbors strengthen bond after Friday's thunderstorm

Paula Garnett and Wayne Netterlund sit on Garnett's patio while looking after Sawyer and Max, two dogs Garnett took in. Tanner Robinson / WDAY

LENGBY, Minn. — A feeling of calm surrounded Island Lake Saturday, Aug. 15, and Paula Garnett was one of those taking in the peace.

"I do my puzzles out here, I read my books out here, I read about God out here," she said as she walked around her deck.

A round of storms Friday night beat up on Garnett's cabin from outside to inside, and she feared the walls in her bedroom would cave in.

She was recently diagnosed with Dercum's disease, a disease where painful fat cells grow periodically on the body, and the storms triggered that pain.

"I was in the bathtub, I was having a panic attack," she said. "I knew (Friday's) storm was different."


Wayne Netterlund lives next door, and his downstairs wall has come down, flooding his basement.

"The part that I can see is gone, and I don't dare go down there and look and see if there's any more," he said.

Netterlund stayed with Garnett through Friday night's storms, as Netterlund is in the process of gutting his cabin's floor.

The pair has also been taking care of Max and Sawyer, two dogs Garnett took in.

Netterlund said he's grateful for the bond he and Garnett share.

"It means a lot to me to help her out, because she helped me out," he said.

While both physical foundations may be cracked, Garnett said her friendship's foundation has been solid, and it's a friendship she hopes can extend beyond the lake's waters.

"I want to be the person who does nice things for people because I can," she said.


In terms of the storm damage, both Netterlund and Garnett hope to hear if their insurances can cover by Monday.

Tanner Robinson is a producer for First News on WDAY-TV.
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