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NY Mills student plans fundraiser for tornado victims

Michael Meyer, a junior at New York Mills High School, has planned a fundraiser for the Wadena and Otter Tail County tornado victims.

The event, which is a talent show called Youth's Got Talent, will take place on Saturday, April 16 at 6 p.m. at St. Ann's Church in Wadena.

A free will donation will be held at the fundraiser. A dinner will also be served.

Meyer was encouraged to lead a service project in his church or community after attending a two-week summer camp at Saint John's University called Youth In Theology and Ministry. The camp focused on building leadership skills in high school youth. Meyer was attending the two-week summer camp in June 2010 along with Nicole Hessig, coordinator of youth ministry at St. Ann's and St. John's churches, when the tornadoes hit.

"It was an awful day for us and we can't imagine what it was like to be here at the time," Hessig said. "We left a perfect rural community and came home to missing homes, businesses, and a destroyed Wadena Deer Creek High School."

Meyer's grandparents suffered severe damage to their farm and a few of Hessig's family members also lost homes. Her uncle lost his whole property of seven buildings, including his house.

"When we got home from camp, the need for help was so great and Michael decided he needed to do something to help," Hessig said.

Meyer came up with the idea of having a youth talent show and dinner with all proceeds going to the Wadena/Ottertail Long Term Recovery Committee. The committee will then decide where the greatest need is for the proceeds. Possible recovery projects include trees to be planted, parks to be rebuilt, or area residents who still need assistance to fix their homes.

Meyer is a member of St. John the Baptist Church in Bluffton.

The fundraiser is a community event for all ages and residents of surrounding areas.

Hessig and Meyer are still in need of youth (pre-school through seniors in high school) to register to perform for the talent show. There is a $5 registration fee per act. There are four $50 first place prizes and 4 $25 second place prizes.

For more information or to request a registration form, call or email Nicole at 218-639-5026 or

St. Ann's Church is located at 514 1st St. SE in Wadena.