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Tubby Smith to visit Wadena and Almora

Dads who are sports fans -- as well as sports fans in general -- have reason to be excited this upcoming Father's Day as Gopher men's basketball coach Tubby Smith will be in Wadena and Almora June 17 to dedicate playground equipment donated by his foundation.

Smith will be present for a ribbon cutting ceremony 2 p.m. at Wadena's southwest playground by the old pool.

June 17 is the two-year anniversary of the twin EF4 tornadoes that devastated Wadena and parts of east Otter Tail County.

Following the Wadena ceremony, around 3:30 p.m., Smith will move on to the Almora city hall.

"Tubby Smith gave the Long Term Recovery Committee a grant to purchase playground equipment for both Wadena and Almora," Long Term Recovery Case Manager Wendy Molstad said.

The city of Wadena initially did not have the budget to purchase the full set of playground equipment, and the Tubby Smith grant is to purchase the additional equipment.

Almora, which was hit by the east Otter Tail tornado, now has a brand new play structure.

"Twenty-six of 30 houses were significantly impacted," Long Term Recovery member Ann Pate said.

Pate has done some volunteer work in Almora.

People will have the opportunity to hear Smith speak, take photos and get autographs during both his visits.

Pate said the Rev. Del Moen will give the opening speech, and Mayor Wayne Wolden and Miss Wadena Haley Anderson will also be present.

Molstad and Volunteer Coordinator Tanya Nelson encourage the public to meet Smith and show their support.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shirley Uselman said while the Tubby Smith ceremony was not planned by the Chamber for June Jubilee, promoting it as well.