By Marielle Mohs

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After a week of tragedy and grief, the Buffalo community came together on Saturday to heal.

#BuffaloStrong was the theme of the third-annual Kites on Ice event. While people had fun skating, dancing and, of course, flying kites on Buffalo Lake, the city’s Chamber of Commerce put out donation bins, so people to give to the Buffalo clinic workers.

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“It’s just very important that everybody talk and talk out their feelings right now,” said Ole Olson.

Olson and his wife are so thankful the annual Kites on Ice event gave them a place to be with their community. While standing out on Buffalo Lake, it was hard to miss the purple ribbons on everyone’s winter layers. They were handed out by the Buffalo Chamber, who was also selling signs to raise money for city’s health care workers. Olson bought two #BuffaloStrong signs.

“One is for our yard, and I’m a minister at one of the church’s here in town, so the other one is going into the window at the church,” said Olson.

When Leah Andersen is not fulfilling her duties as Buffalo Rodeo queen, she’s an Allina nurse at the clinic in Coon Rapids. She said this tragedy touched everyone in their health system.

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“We knew all the ladies, just taken too soon. [Lindsay] went up to go to work one day and she didn’t get to go home to her family, so hug your family tight,” said Andersen. “I also think that’s why we should be gathering here today, too.”

Just a few blocks from Buffalo Lake, high school junior Madeline Anderson was proving she’s #BuffaloStrong too.

“It was really shocking and heartbreaking when we first heard the news,” said Anderson, who decided to put her grief into action by setting up a donation drive for gift cards, cash, and mental health resources for the health care workers at Allina Clinic in Buffalo, following Tuesday’s shooting.

Anderson cannot believe how many people turned out in record cold temperatures to give. She said people dropped off checks for $150, $300 and $500.

“I’m just amazed at the compassion and kindness in our community. I know COVID has hit everyone really hard, but a lot of these gift cards are through small businesses in Buffalo, so I think that’s amazing it’s going to benefit so many people throughout the community and the clinic,” said Anderson.

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To donate to the #BuffaloStrong fundraiser, click here.

Marielle Mohs