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BBQ Offers Tornado Victims Community And Escape

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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By Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Storm victims in North Minneapolis got a break from the clean-up effort Saturday to enjoy a barbecue.

It’s been nearly a week since Richard Sharp has had a day of fun. He, like many of his neighbors, just hasn’t had time since the tornado hit last Sunday.

“My house is gone, all my clothes is gone, everything,” said Sharp, who had to move into his aunt’s home after the tornado hit.

Damaged homes have dampened the community’s spirits.

“Every time I look at the house, I cry,” Sharp said.

Sharon Ross, who has gone days without power, said the experience has left her depressed.

That’s part of the reason Saturday’s barbecue at Farview Park offered much more than a meal.

“Something positive for the families to really look forward to in the neighborhood,” said Jayne Miller, the Park Board Superintendent.

Along with the burgers, the face paint, the trampolines and the basketball, neighbors got a much needed escape.

“Coming here made me feel better,” Ross said.

Devon Perkins showed up to forget about his damaged home and the stress of overnight showers.

“Just different scenery to clear our minds,” Perkins said.

Although the barbecue offered a brief escape, the rainclouds rising from the south brought a sober reminder of Sunday’s tornado.

“At the first sign of rain, first thing I thought was: tornado again. Kids was scared, too, because it was all dark,” Perkins said.

Sunday’s storm took away more than anyone expected.

“We’re missing a lot of trees over here, you know. You don’t miss trees until they’re gone,” Perkins said.

Still, the barbecue reminded many storm victims of what they still have to enjoy.

“Its just a nice day to be out … get back in the community,” Perkins said.

The Recovery Center at Farview Park will remain open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Monday and on from noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

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