Rapidan community unites behind Hruska family after loss of home, store

Floodwaters along the Blue Earth River have wiped away so much from the Hruska family. Their home and family business is now gone, and about all that’s left are decades of memories shared by the entire community. 

"Seeing this has put a hole in many of our hearts," said Chair of Blue Earth County Board of Commissioners Kevin Paap. "Our thoughts and prayers to the Hruska family and friends through this difficult and very overwhelming time."

Congressman Brad Finstad, who represents Minnesota's First Congressional District, said "We need to step up and help their family. They’ve lost their house they’ve lost their business. You don’t take landslide insurance in Minnesota."

RELATED: Dam Store demolished from Rapidan Dam riverbank, couldn't be saved

South of Mankato, after carving out a path around the Rapidan dam, raging floodwaters along the Blue Earth River swept away trees, power lines, an electrical substation and a county shed. But the toughest loss for this community to swallow? The Hruska’s family home and restaurant: The Rapidan Dam Store.

"It’s been like waiting for someone pretty close to you dying and then going to the funeral," said Mark Krosch, a neighbor who lives across the street.

Day after day, neighbors and family friends watched as Mother Nature ate away at the land piece by piece, a focal point of this community now wiped clean away by Mother Nature. And it’s unclear if she’s done yet.

"We don’t know what the future will hold," said Louise Henderson, a friend of the Hruska family. "We don’t know even at this point how far the river is going to come this way, or what direction it’s going to take."

The Hruska family ran the dam store for decades. On Saturday, all that was left was rubble. The family and county decided to demolish on Friday, after determining the structure was otherwise likely to end up in the river.

"It was very difficult decision. It was a somber decision," Louise said. "We tried everything in our power to save it."

Officials said they are beginning to inspect the County Road 9 bridge for damage this weekend.