MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The tornado that ripped through north Minneapolis has impacted many, including a fearless community leader who is also a state championship basketball coach.
Faith Johnson-Patterson coached championship-caliber basketball at Minneapolis North and went on to win a state championship with DeLaSalle. The twister ripped right through her childhood home. It toppled trees, and battered houses dot the community landscape.
The May 22 tornado cut a swath through the neighborhood, changing things forever. Johnson-Patterson said it will probably never look the same.
“It definitely looks different. It’s definitely not the same,” Johnson-Patterson said.
Johnson-Patterson, who has won a combined six girls state basketball titles at Minneapolis North and DeLaSalle, literally felt the tornado’s fury. She was with her mom, Ruby, when the storm ripped through the area and destroyed the house she grew up in.
“I’ve never experienced anything like that before. And unless you’ve gone through something like that, it’s one of those kinds of things where you just, it’s shocking, it’s unbelievable,” said Johnson-Patterson.
Johnson-Patterson said she will always have vivid memories of the chaos that ensued when the twister came through. She said she will never forget the tornado’s devastation and power.
“That door was about to open up and the trees were snapping. They were just popping and falling apart. I yelled at my mom to go down the stairs,” Johnson-Patterson said.
When they talk to their players, coaches harp on overcoming adversity all the time. Now, Johnson-Patterson has to overcome her own adversity.
The tornado came just days after Johnson-Patterson was released from the hospital with a serious illness. Now, the coach is on the comeback trail in more ways than one.
“You have to believe that God won’t put anything more on you that you can’t handle. It’s the same message I preach to my kids, and now thank God I’ve preached that message,” said Johnson-Patterson. “Thank God for the opportunity to win some championships where now I can use that for myself personally.”