Much to be thankful for at Hardwick’s Jubilee Days
HARDWICK — A week and a half ago, the community of Hardwick in Rock County looked like a war zone. Trees were toppled, windows broken out, roofs and siding were damaged and water was everywhere — washing out shoulders of county roads and creeping up in basements of homes and businesses.
Heavy rains, tennis ball-sized hail and strong winds had left destruction in its wake. Hardwick City Clerk Tammy Johnson said people were overwhelmed. And their town festival was quickly approaching.
“We only have one maintenance man, so we’re on a small budget and a small staff,” she said.
Despite the damage, Johnson said Hardwick Community Club members never once discussed postponing their town celebration.
If nothing else, Hardwick Jubilee Days would at least have a parade.
“We thought … we’ll do what we can with what we have,” Johnson said. “The town spirit is still there.
“A lot of people plan their family reunions around this and come back to Hardwick for this,” she added. “It would have been really hard to reschedule.
“If we couldn’t do it all, we couldn’t do it all.”
Then, on the day after the storm, on June 17, Johnson received a call from a member of the Rolling Plains Mennonite Church north of Pipestone. The man had heard Hardwick was hit hard by the storm and offered to bring in volunteers.
The initial offer was for about 10 people willing to rake lawns, remove trees and provide cleanup for the people who couldn’t help themselves — the elderly and those who didn’t have the means or capability to get the work done.
Johnson said when she hung up the phone after talking with the man, she “just bawled.”
“That night, they rolled into town with pickups, trailers, four-wheelers and wheelbarrows,” she said. “I think 30 people hopped out of those vehicles, anywhere from babies to adults and kids.”
Between 6:30 p.m. and sundown, the Mennonite volunteers raked more than a dozen yards, hauled away trees and branches and “put a huge dent” in the cleanup efforts, Johnson said. One elderly woman said the volunteers were an answer to her prayers.
Johnson calls the evening “a God thing.”
“The women came and had lunch for all of their people — it was so organized,” she said. “It would have taken me a week to organize something like that.”
As volunteers converged on the community and neighbors were helping neighbors, Rock County came in and repaired the washed-out shoulders on the road leading to town.
Now, more than a week after the storm, things have quieted down in Hardwick and the town is “pretty well cleaned up,” according to Lorna Bryan, another Hardwick Community Club member.
This year, there is much cause for jubilation during Hardwick’s Jubilee Days — there was no loss of life in the storm, and certainly no loss of that community spirit.
Events get under way Friday in Hardwick with a fast-pitch softball game starting at 8 p.m. at the ballfield. Meanwhile, at the Green Lantern, the band Pirate Taxi will play from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
The weekend schedule follows:
8 a.m.: Co-ed Team Softball Tourney. To pre-register a team, call Crystal Swenson at (507) 669-2009 or (507) 920-6436
4:30 to 8 p.m.: Face Painting and Temporary Tattoos, Main Street
5-8 p.m.: Community Meal, serving in the Hardwick Fire Hall, with ice cream served by by the Zion Youth Group
7 p.m.: Jubilee Days Parade. Entries should line up west of Main Street. Following the parade, children ages 4-11 are invited to participate in a Pedal Pull.
10:30 a.m.: Outdoor Community Worship Service, Zion Lutheran Church parking lot. Lunch to be served by the Zion Youth Group. Bring your own lawn chair. (In case of rain, the service will be in the church.)
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.