Outside Looking In

What a week

While the storms that swept through the area last week were an unwelcome sight to those who either lost a machine shed, hog barn or even a large tree, or maybe had water in their basement, things could have been much worse. For one, there we no injuries reported.
I had a lot of water in my basement that caused serious damage to a chair that had been passed down four generations of my family. Having been in the tornado in Tracy in 1968 and having witnessed my father helping to pull two of the nine deceased bodies from the rubble, water in my basement was a, pardon the pun, a drop in the bucket in comparison.
When I heard the news that Minneota was being hit hard by at least 10 Facebook friends from there, I was deeply saddened and prayed everyone would be safe.
Around the same time, I got a text from a friend of mine who is a volunteer fireman in Willmar, notifying me that a firefighter from Lake Lillian was killed in Thursday night's storm.
I also received word from a friend of mine in Willmar that a man was killed outside Lake Lillian, a small town 17 miles from Willmar.
During the storm, the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office said that Ryan Erickson, 63, was killed when a grain bin fell and landed on him around 7 p.m. Thursday. Erickson is a cousin of Patty (Erickson) Myrvik of Minneota.
Erickson was leaving his farm to help monitor for storms when straight-line winds around 90 miles per hour toppled a large grain bin on top of him.
The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office received a call that Erickson was missing and when they arrived at his farm, they discovered him under the collapsed grain bin. He was then transported to the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office in Ramsey.
Erickson had been a volunteer fireman since he was 18 years old.
He was a very well-liked man in the area, having been a former owner of Erickson Plumbing and Heating in Blomkest. He had done work for me at my homes in Willmar several times.
With Minneota hit very hard by the strong straight-line winds, it was fortunate to not have had any serious injuries. Several large trees that were blown down just missed hitting homes.
Roofs, sheds, trees and the like can be replaced. Lives can't.

There you are
As I sat listening to the two superintendent candidates for Minneota Public Schools on Sunday, one of the candidates, Scott Munson, noted that one of Minneota's teachers, Emily Jensen, was a student in Benson when he was an administrator there.
When I was the sports editor in Willmar, I covered Emily Jensen and her brother, Adam, in sports. I always wondered whatever happened to the talent siblings, but thought it was odd that I didn't know she was teaching in Minneota.
Munson mentioned the name Emily Jensen several times in his question and answer session with the public in the choir room of the school.
When Munson finished his session, I was afraid I wouldn't recognize Emily if I saw her again after so many years had gone by, so I asked another Minneota teacher where Emily was. Much to my surprise, she looked exactly the same as she always had.
The reason I hadn't heard Emily was teaching here was because her name is now Emily Citterman (her husband is Brock) and, although I had heard that name several times, I never realized it was her.
Emily is a middle school math teacher here, as well as an assistant volleyball and softball coach.
I had written a feature story on Emily and her brother, Adam, in high school as they both were 1,000-point scorers in basketball for the Benson Braves. Emily was a junior when Adam was a senior. I remember taking their photo outside the school with both of them proudly wearing their maroon lettermen's jackets.
They were both the school's career scoring leaders when they graduated (Adam in 2005 and Emily in 2006), although I'm not sure if their records have since been broken or not.
Emily was also a standout volleyball and softball player at Benson. She played both basketball and fastpitch in college at Concordia College in Moorhead.
Adam is now a teacher in Benson.
It was so nice to catch up with Emily again. Emily and Adam were two of my favorite athletes that I've ever covered; always polite and appreciative.

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