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Small Town Comes Together To Help Local Coach Who Lost Home To Mudslide

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The floods of the summer of 2014 will be remembered for years to come.

But for one area high school basketball coach they are still too real.

Randy Carlson and his family lost their home to a mudslide in June.

They had to run to escape it.

Now, the house is a total loss and none of the damage is covered by insurance.

WCCO paid a visit to the Carlsons’s Sunday and found out the coach is getting a pep talk from the people he has touched in life.

Randy Carlson has been a head basketball coach for the last 27 years in Belle Plaine, Minn.

He’s made quite a name for himself.

“He’s a legend. I’ve only had the opportunity to be here four years to be able to work with Randy. But I coached against one of his daughters. I watched many of his teams,” Athletic director Mindy Sparby said.

He has coached state tournament teams. And his four children have played at Belle Plaine as well.

Twenty-seven years of memories on the gym floor.

“The last 28 years. Thousands of practices, hundreds of games. We spent it here with a lot of players, a lot of fans,” Randy Carlson said.

But the coach found an opponent bigger than he has ever seen on June 19; his house gave way to a mudslide.

And they found out that it is not insured for that.

“I heard the crack of the tree, and looked over the banister and could see a tree on my kitchen table. But the next thing was the movement under your feet. You felt the house actually move and then propane. And so when we smelled propane we ran as fast as we could,” Terry Carlson said.

The devastation is amazing, especially in the basement, which was once his refuge.

“We had kind of a thing down here where I would go. I had a T.V. and I had my couches, I’d read my books,” Randy said.

The dining room has been boarded up, still filled with water and mud.

“When you look in there [the dining room], that is probably about four feet deep of clay,” Randy said.

While they pondered the tragedy, there was a cavalry waiting for them. It came in the form of his basketball community.

“Not only players that he’s coached, but players that he has coached against,” former player, Jeff Witt, said.

It came from the community and faculty.

“We got together shortly after the devastation hit and said, ‘What can we do for Randy and his family?’ At that time already the State Bank of Belle Plaine and the GoFundMe.com was already in the making,” Sparby said.

Their lives forever changed by the devastation.

“You count days. When the Red Cross saw us the first night, and they said ‘This is your new normal, Day 1.’ And they give you a book to record. And that’s where we are at. This is our new normal,” Terry said. “And it will be our new normal for the rest of our lives.”

But the small town spirit has been awakened.

“Lot of the times a small town gets knocked for being such a small town, but something like this happens and everybody rallies. It’s amazing,” Witt said.

Soon Carlson will coach again and that will help.

He can tell his players about what he learned about team work when they came to his aid.

“You accept what people do for you. And you be thankful and you just say thanks,” Randy said.

Belle Plaine will hold a benefit game on August 9 to raise funds for the Carlsons.

 

If you would like to help the Carlsons, a fund has been set up with State Bank of Belle Plaine.

You can donate to the fund online (http://www.gofundme.com/alh9t0) or by mailing a letter to this address:

Carlson Relief Fund, State Bank of Belle Plaine, 201 W. Main St, PO Box 87, Belle Plaine, MN 56011, 952-873-2296

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