With all of the chaos and shutdown drama in Washington, reports of the tragedy and destruction that shook South Dakota in the Oct. 4 snowstorm has been somewhat lost in the shuffle.
Though the stories of those who went days without power have largely gone unreported, that does not mean they can be overlooked. At Augustana, we place strong emphasis on service and community, and when part of our larger community is hurting, we should remember to offer our support.
In the days since the storm, the full extent of damage becomes clear. Rapid City streets littered with branches and downed trees bring back memories of the so-called “icepocalypse” that hit Sioux Falls this April. Even two weeks after the storm, piles of branches and debris have yet to be collected in parts of town.
Some people in the Black Hills went without power for up to a week, and in areas of the hills snowmobilers were recruited to help rescue those who were stranded without power.
South Dakota ranchers will likely have the hardest time weathering the effects of the storm. Cattle deaths number in the tens of thousands, and for a state whose economy relies heavily on agriculture, these numbers are devastating.
Additionally, the storm hit in the midst of the government shutdown, creating uncertainty as to when and if the government will be able to provide any federal relief to those hit hardest.
Despite the lack of government aid, relief may still be on the way for local ranchers. Anselmo-Merna, a public school in Merna, Neb. began a fundraiser to assist S.D. cattle rangers.
In times of uncertainty and hardship, it’s important for us to be good neighbors to our friends on the western side of the state. If the elementary students can lend a hand, the students at Augustana should also be able to extend some support.
Megan Raposa is a junior journalism and business communications major from Rapid City, S.D. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org