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Polly Lussier in her house with the light from a new window

“It’s so good to have the light again.” That’s what Polly Lussier of the Red Lake Nation in northern Minnesota said about getting windows back in her house with help from Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) volunteers.

Lussier’s house was damaged by the tornado and hailstorm that hit the community in 2021. “The hail busted up the windows on the north side,” she said. “With the wind, it was almost going sideways.”

At first, she and her family—she lives in the house with her daughters and grandchildren—didn’t know how bad the storm would be. “But then we heard the sirens and went into the basement,” she said.

Lois Wenger, front, and Mim Martin, back, painting siding in Red Lake, MN

With no insurance or funds to fix the broken windows in the kitchen, dining room and one bedroom—the fifty-nine-year-old widow gets by on a small pension—she had them boarded up. They stayed that way until MDS came along this summer.

“It was pretty dark in the house for a long time,” Lussier said, adding “when they asked me what kind of windows I wanted, I said I don’t care as long as I can see the light.”

Now she likes to stand by the windows and look outside. “It’s awesome what they did for me,” she said of the volunteers. “Now I have light.”


John Longhurst, MDS Canada Communications

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