Hundreds help pick up pieces after tornado
MARION, N.D. -- Hundreds of volunteers have given the Noot farm near here a new look after a tornado ripped through the area July 18. "The devastation was overwhelming, and the response was overwhelming," said neighbor Rita Greer, coordinator of ...
MARION, N.D. -- Hundreds of volunteers have given the Noot farm near here a new look after a tornado ripped through the area July 18.
"The devastation was overwhelming, and the response was overwhelming," said neighbor Rita Greer, coordinator of the relief effort at the farm.
The Noot farm was destroyed by an F4 tornado that went through Barnes County. Three other farms, some abandoned, were damaged but none as heavily as the Noot farm.
Brothers Dana and Jay Noot and their father, Willey Noot, farmed at the Noot farm.
Two homes on the farm were destroyed, one owned by Dana and his wife and son, Nancy and Nick Noot, and the other owned by Willey Noot. Jay and Kim Noot and their children live in Marion but operated a custom hay bale hauling business out of the farm.
Volunteers came from all over the state to help clean up, Greer said. Some people took their first break Sunday, six days after the tornado struck.
"The farmers had been here since Sunday (July 18) and they were exhausted," she said.
Local businesses helped out by donating labor, the use of heavy equipment and food to feed the workers. Area residents brought their own heavy equipment and worked 12-hour days or longer.
"The Noots are just so grateful," Greer said. "These are self-reliant people. They've always worked hard and relied on themselves and now they are humbled by the response."
Debris such as trees and wooden parts of buildings is being hauled across the road to be burned. Metal from wrecked equipment and grain bins has been put into piles, waiting to be hauled away. Other items, such as cement chunks, will be buried.
"They've (volunteers) been busy," Dana Noot said. "People have other work to do too, but they have really been helping out a lot."
The volunteers have been a "tremendous help," Jay Noot said. They worked long hours with their own equipment to clean up the farm.
Nancy Noot said the family is very grateful for all the help.
Volunteer Clarence Van Bruggen estimates there were 100 or more volunteers helping on the Noot farm every day. He worked there for five days, breaking Friday to work on his harvest equipment.
He helped by sorting through the rubble to find loose tools or salvageable machinery in the first few days.
"It was about like if you poured the tools into a blender and stirred it around," Van Bruggen said, commenting on the force of the tornado.
Delmer Rohrbeck was on the Noot farm Monday. He had been helping since last Tuesday with one of his payloaders and loaned out another for someone else to use on the farm. He planned to leave one of his payloaders at the farm.
"There's a lot left to do," he said.
Greer said a number of businesses in the area have helped; so have agencies including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Methodist Committee on Relief and Lutheran Rural Response.
Willey Noot is living in a Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer brought in by the LaMoure County Emergency Manager. Dana, Nancy and Nick Noot are living in temporary housing, a home owned by Lu Matzke and prepared for the Noots by Marion Lutheran Church.
Jay Noot did not have a damage estimate, or a rebuilding figure.
"I'm sure a million dollars wouldn't do it," he said.
"It's big," Dana Noot said.
He and his wife did have insurance on their home, and he and his brother had insured some of their equipment. However, most of their property was not insured, Dana Noot said. Willey didn't have insurance on anything.
Things go more smoothly if the coordinators know how many volunteers plan to come and what equipment will be available, Greer said.
To volunteer at the Noot farm call (701) 669-2347 or leave a message at (701) 669-2681.
A Noot Recovery Fund has been set up at Wells Fargo bank and donations can be brought to any branch. A Noot Family Relief Fund has also been set up at First State Bank of LaMoure. Checks can be mailed to Box 69, Marion, ND, 58466, or dropped off at the bank in Marion or branches in Dickey, LaMoure and Oakes.