Adams Post 146 is there after tornado strikes

Photos by Nancy Lewison
Buildings in Taopi were flattened by a tornado on April 12.

Twister takes down half of Taopi, a town 4 miles away

By Tim Engstrom
The Minnesota Legionnaire

ADAMS — Adams Post 146 had its regularly monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 12.

On the drive home, that’s when the rain and wind came along, and so did an F2 tornado that struck Taopi, a town of 65 people four miles to the west. The Legionnaires in and around Taopi largely belong to the Adams post. Adams has a population of 775.

Post 146 Commander Dennis Lewison said his wife, Nancy, began calling other Auxiliary Unit 146 members the next day with the idea of serving soup to tornado victims. They received loads of soups, cookies and supplies. On Thursday, April 14, Unit 146 served lunch at the post home as a free meal for tornado victims. Members of the public ate, too, and they donated $6,000.

A home stands but is mostly demolished after a tornado ripped through Taopi on April 12.

As a result, the Legion Family began spearheading a fundraiser, not just a meal. Lewison called it the Taopi Relief Fund.

The building became the location for donating goods. That Thursday afternoon, people from surrounding communities were bringing clothes, shoes, food, water, baby needs, toys, coats, toiletries, you name it, to the post home at 132 W. Main St.

On Friday, the Post 146 Legion Family did it again. They served fish and brats, and after they ran out, they served chicken. The people of Taopi filled the Legion that evening to get away and relax.

On Saturday, the Auxiliary again served soup to Taopi residents, and everyone hung out at the Legion again that evening.

“This shows our community how important the Legion is,” Lewison said.

The tornado was reported to be about 320 yards wide and lasting for seven miles.

Lewison said Taopi residents have been coming to Post 146 to pick up supplies.

“They were overwhelmed but now are getting back into their own lifestyle,” he said.

A flag flies outside the Lodi Township Hall.

The donations came from other Legion posts, local stores and individuals.

First District Commander Mike Parry called about helping veterans, and posts from around the district sent $2,535 to help veterans impacted by the tornado. Post 146 even got a check from Nebraska.

Lewison said individuals can donate to their efforts.

Send a check to:
American Legion Post 146
PO Box 181
Adams, MN 55909

In the memo line, put “Taopi Relief Fund” to help all tornado victims or put “Taopi Relief Fund for Legion Family” to specifically help Legion Family members affected by the tornadoes.

The Legionnaire checked with the Allied Charities and the Gambling Control Board. Posts cannot send gambling funds, but they can send in Form LG 270 to have the state board review, at its June meeting, a request to donate to another licensed post.

Another option is to purchase merchandise (not cash or gift cards), then send that.

Lewison said many homes in Taopi will need rebuilding, and there is talk about the Post 146 Family furnishing the new homes with flags and flagpoles. That, he said, is a discussion for the next meeting.

Let’s hope the drive home from that one has clear skies.