Remembering Historic Ortonville
It had been on my calendar to be in the Ortonville area September 28-29 for a month or more. It was an absolutely beautiful day on Tuesday as I made my way up Highway 7 to Ortonville in Big Stone County. I must have driven down their main street 4 times on Tuesday – it was business as usual and there was no sign of what was to come 12 hours or so later.
When I got up Wednesday morning – I learned there was a terrible fire downtown. I was with Becky Parker, former chair of the SWIF Board of Directors and an outstanding business and community volunteer in Ortonville. Our plan for the morning was to take a walk at the refuge yesterday morning which we did (another blog for later), but first we needed to stop and watch as firemen were putting water on what was already two completely destroyed buildings and knocking down what was left to protect the third building. It was an awful sight.
But what was worse…………the employees who the day before had a job in one of the buildings coming to see charred remains of the building where they worked and now had no job to go to. Thru tears they talked amongst each other in disbelief to what had just happened and tried to recall what was left on their desk.
There were 90 people who worked in that building. Let’s remember them and the Ortonville community as they take steps to turn a tragedy into an opportunity.