Castlewood overwhelmed with support after tornado

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Published: May. 13, 2022 at 5:40 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The community of Castlewood is beginning to repair the damage from the F2 tornado that cut through the center of their town Thursday evening.

So many people from outside the community stepped up to help out that the town simply couldn’t handle them all.

Thursday’s storm destroyed multiple houses and damaged the school in Castlewood but the community and surrounding areas wasted no time gathering together to start repairing their town.

Many residents of Castlewood lost their houses to Thursday’s tornado, including Chris Lather.

“Debris was flying, trees were already down, power lines, you saw all that kind of stuff,” Lather said. “The wind was blowing, it was definitely scary.”

Lather took cover across the street at the school--where he teaches K-12 special education. However, the school was also damaged by the storm.

“It’s very devastating,” Lather said. “That’s a gym that the kids play in. I’ve coached basketball in there. We walk through the halls of Castlewood school every day.”

Lather was unharmed and there were no fatalities in Castlewood. The cleanup started Friday morning but Castlewood residents got more support than they bargained for.

So many volunteers came to help--that the town couldn’t handle all the traffic.

“We did turn away volunteers because the small community closeness comes out when you have an event like this, and people step up to the plate,” Castlewood Mayor Brian Ries said. “People took charge where it needed to be taken. We have a long way to go, but we’ve come a long way already.”

Lather says that he received over 100 messages offering to help him clean up his property

“People are very willing to step up and help out, especially in situations like this,” Lather said. “Not just from our community, but everywhere else.”

Emergency Management staff say there have been so many volunteers that they think most of the damage will be cleaned up by Friday evening.

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