Home > South Dakota > How to help the people of Wessington Springs after the tornado

How to help the people of Wessington Springs after the tornado

June 20, 2014

Fortunately there were no deaths or fatal injuries from the tornado that struck Wessington Springs earlier this week. A great hat-tip goes out to all the various people working together to ensure people were informed of the tornado and were able to seek shelter in time. Now it is time for the people directly impacted by the storm to start rebuilding their homes.. and their lives. It is also time for those of us who want to help these families to do our part.

The State of South Dakota put out a press release giving details of how to donate to the Wessington Springs Relief Fund through the Red Cross. I have included the press release at the end of this post for any that wish to help that way. But I am not a fan of the Red Cross, so I usually look for alternative means of helping people in such disasters (Red Cross has great people locally, but still has big problems at national level).

Instead I prefer to give directly to families that have been impacted. So far I have found two families that have donation funds setup on the CrowdFunding website GoFundMe. I checked out the creators of both funds, and they come from reliable sources (always check out the validity of a charitable campaign, there are a LOT of scams out there!)  Below are the two funds I have found. If anyone knows of other means of helping the families of Wessington Springs please let me know and I’ll pass it on somehow (either via another post, twitter, or Facebook).

Thompson Family Tornado Recovery Fund

Thompson Family Tornado Recovery Fund GoFundMe Page – Here is the description of the fund from the GoFundMePage:


Thompson Family Tornado Recovery Fund

Nobody thinks tragedy will ever strike their family, but unfortunately, sometimes God has plans we may never understand. On the evening of June 18th, in the vibrant little town of Wessington Springs, SD, a tornado uplifted the lives of the town’s 1,000 residents. Every mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, child, aunt, uncle, and friend were affected, some worse than others.

The Thompson family did not fare well. Chad and his wife Sara are parents to three young boys, hard-workers on their family farm/ranch, and do their best every day to keep their business running. The night of the tornado, the Thompson family took cover and road out the storm. Thankfully, every person is okay, however every possession is damaged or completely gone.

Their house is currently uninhabitable, but will be fixed up enough in a few days to live in. The bigger issue is that every piece of equipment, machinery, trailer, car, working pen, barn, machine shop, working shoot, and gate they use to work, are gone.

Chad and Sara are eager to push ahead to regain normalcy for themselves and their boys, and have already started working with insurance adjusters. Insurance will cover the larger costs, however it is clear there are many smaller things that need to be replaced which will add up quickly, financially. Chad and Sara are determined to be up and running again soon.

If you are able to make a donation to support the Thompson family in their time of need, your generosity would be greatly appreciated. All donations will go to the resources needed to rebuild their farm and ranch.

If you prefer to send a check, please make it payable to Chad & Sara Thompson and mail it to:

Chad & Sara Thompson
36951 229th St.
Wessington Springs, SD 57382

Thank you and God Bless.

Barber Family Tornado Recovery Fund

Barber Family Tornado Recovery Fund GoFundMe Page – Here is the description of the fund from the GoFundMePage:


Barber Family Tornado Recovery Fund

On Wednesday, June 18th at about 8pm, a tornado tore into the small town of Wessington Springs, SD. This storm destroyed the home on Blowers Avenue of my great uncle and aunt, Ward and Connie Barber. They are now left without a roof over their head and no running vehicle. They are safe and will be staying at a family members house in Mitchell, but they have lost every possession that is dear to them.
Ward and Connie are the nicest couple and are very much loved by their community and by their family. They deserve all that we can give them especially after one of the most difficult times in their lives.
Even if you are unable to make a donation, please help by sharing this page. All donations will go directly to Ward and Connie Barber to help them in their long recovery.

Keloland shared an aerial video of the damage in the town. You can see Ward and Connie Barber’s house at 10 seconds into the video. http://www.keloland.com/newsdetail.cfm/aerial-footage-of-wessington-springs/?id=166000

Keloland interviewed Connie and Ward for their news story. The video is posted in this link:


Here is the Press Release from the State of South Dakota:

WESSINGTON SPRINGS, S.D. – Officials in Wessington Springs have established a relief fund and are finalizing a donation-reception center as the community works to recover from a devastating tornado Wednesday evening.

Any business, organization or individual wishing to help Wessington Springs residents impacted by the tornado is urged to donate to the Wessington Springs Relief fund by contacting the Red Cross. To donate, visit the Red Cross website at www.redcross.org and designate your donation for Wessington Springs or call 1-800-Red-Cross.

Cash donations designated to the Wessington Springs Relief Fund may also be dropped off at American Bank & Trust locations in Wessington Springs, Alpena, Huron, Wolsey, Miller, Huron-Walmart, Pierre, Mellette and De Smet.

Community leaders are working to establish a donation-reception center and are preparing a list of community needs. Once local leaders have identified what the community needs for its recovery, that list will be announced and donations will be gratefully accepted.

Mayor Melissa Mebius said the community is still very much in the process of recovery, so heavy equipment is moving through the streets, debris remains in many areas and power is still being restored in some areas. Until that part of the recovery is complete, for both individual and public safety, individuals wishing to visit the community are asked to consider delaying a trip.

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