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Red Cross honors Hansen for work during last summer's storm

Shawn Hansen

Shawn Hansen, Nisswa Chamber of Commerce president/CEO, received the 2016 American Red Cross Community Hero Award in Minnesota for becoming a vital part of the daily communications in the lakes area after a severe windstorm swept through July 12, 2015.

The storm affected nearly every business in its path. In the days and weeks to follow, Hansen became an integral part of the disaster response, securing resources, relaying critical information, coordinating with local business and relief agencies and providing much needed connections to help her community recover from this disaster.

She helped secure Timberwood Church in Nisswa as the venue for the command/relief center and coordinated meals from local businesses for volunteer cleanup crews. She attended twice-daily meetings to stay updated on emergency response efforts and efforts to restore power to residents. She worked with local relief agencies to get services to residents and businesses, as well as helped screen "storm chaser businesses" that came to the area to seek work, according to a news release.

Hansen said this has been one of the most humbling experiences of her life. People across the community, from resorts and non-profits, to local residents, hailed her as a community hero during this disaster response. While chambers work with businesses, in this situation, Hansen put her entire community first, helping businesses, residents and incoming travelers connect with the resources necessary to weather the storm.

"As human beings we have to focus on making the world better," said Hansen.

Hansen was honored at the eighth annual American Red Cross Heroes Breakfast on Friday, May 6. The Community Hero Award, sponsored by Anime Twin Cities, is presented to an individual who displays courage and caring upon encountering an unusual, significant or unexpected incident.

View Hansen's story on youtube: 2016 community Here - Red Cross Minnesota - click here.

The Heroes Breakfast also raises funds for the lifesaving programs and services of the Minnesota Region of the American Red Cross.