Text from the Jan. 30, 1975, Tri-County News. Reprinted Feb. 6, 2003.
The following letters have been received from members of the group stranded in Kimball during the blizard [of ’75].
Dear Father Jim:
Just wanted to express my appreciation to you and St. Anne’s for your generosity and hospitality over last weekend. I just can’t tell you how much it meant to us to be so fortunate to encounter such a place as St. Anne’s and such a person as you. And I can promise you neither will ever be forgotten.
Thank you so much for everything.
Bless you always.
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Dear Father Thoennes:
Thank you for the letter and the Tri-County News.
I did appreciate the church being left open for travelers caught in the snow storm. I would also like to thank you and
St. Anne’s Parish for the food and shelter.
Sorry we didn’t clean up better, but was anxious to get moving after the delay. But by the time I got to Minneapolis they no longer needed me so I returned to Howard Lake with five-foot snow drifts in my driveway.
On the list of names, Rod Warner’s name was omitted. He is also from Howard Lake.
Enclosed is a check from Rod and myself as a thanks for the hospitality we received.
Thanks again for the visit, and hope to see you this summer.
Selmer T. Utne, Jr.
Howard Lake, Minn.
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Dear Father and People of Kimball:
There was developed in me and in my life an open and respected period called the Blizzard of ’75. I owe my existence today to the graciousness of you all who had such a building prepared and stocked, and who allowed us to use what we could to provide safety and comfort for ourselves. I’m sure in the beginning we all acted rather selfishly, taking what we could. For example, almost greedily we were thankful when Father came over to prepare our first meal after having had such a cold and bleak evening and night. Many times I wondered how drastic the situation may have been without Father’s arrival. Father was our link of removing ourselves from the occurrences of that blizzard, and he offered us even his own gloves, overshoes and mittens when some situation would necessitate us going outside. I think I speak for everyone that we deeply respected and felt responsible to him for his honest and concerned help to us. Many unpleasant situations resulting from people being cooped up together for so long had been avoided.
I feel a certain homage also to those people who lived in your church with me during that time. I am happy to say that our group grew from a savage bunch hungering to fill gaps where sleep and food had not been filled to a concerned, interested, closely knit group who had time to sit and listen at first to the tales of how they each arrived and finally to the story of their own lives outside of Kimball.
There were many times during that weekend when I was left with a cold fear and dread of what I saw and heard was happening to people. I slept little because I was so tense; because of you all, I ate well. I was helpless as everyone else there was.
The impact of your graciousness left with me will certainly remain with me and be carried to anyone I meet. Already I sense a change in me and a deeper concern for people needing care and help. My future plans entail going on to medical school and eventually working near my home in the Appalachian area. I feel I will be reliving this many times and telling it to people at home near Cincinnati, Ohio, who’ve never witnessed a blizzard or seen more than a few inches of snow.
Enclosed is a check amounting to one half week’s food and shelter spending money that I try to exist on. Use it for whatever purpose you see needs filling. You alread have my deep respect.
Rebecca J. Turner
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Celebrate the season: No blizzard like ’75 yet this year. Every two weeks, there’s another story here for you, so watch. Many special events are planned all year long, the next ones should go on your calendar: March 25,
April 5, April 22, June 24, June 28, Aug. 8-10, Sept. 23, Oct. 28, Nov. 11.
Many speakers, no charge, all are welcome.
Membership time is here and thank you for yours. If you haven’t done it yet, soon would be a good time. Tax-deductible, as are all donations.
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Time for Reflection