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Wisconsin town hit by tornado helping Wadena

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A small town in Wisconsin will be reaching out to Wadena Wednesday, Aug. 18 with caring hands and hearts.

Nature forged a link between the two communities June 17 when an EF4 tornado ripped through Wadena and destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings. Siren found itself in the path of an EF3 tornado in 2001 that left a 69-mile trail of destruction.

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A meal will be served for the stricken residents of Wadena at St. Ann's Catholic Church. More than 1,000 residents are expected to attend the event, which will include a 5 p.m. meal provided by Lilac Press, a group of Siren residents who wrote and published "Seasons Without Shade" following the tornado that devastated their community. At 6:30 p.m., the guest speaker will be Greg Nelson on the topic "Roller Coaster of Disaster."

Siren residents will also help for a day with the recovery effort in Wadena.

Music will be provided by Vern Moss, a young pianist from Dewey, Wis., who lost his piano in the same tornado that hit Siren. Dewey residents raised funds to replace the piano for Moss, who is known as "The Piano Man."

Siren's idea for helping Wadena recover began with a trip that 24 people from Comfrey, Minn. made to Siren.

Siren United Methodist pastor Steve Ward and Deb Jaskolka, dietary manager for Siren school district, have been coordinating the Wadena visit.

The 180-mile trip from Siren to Wadena is not the first one that Siren residents have made. They also visited Ladysmith, Wis. following a tornado.

Siren is a community of 988 residents found 70 miles south of Duluth in northwestern Wisconsin.

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