Deluge In The Dark: Winona County and tragedy in Stockton - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Deluge In The Dark: Winona County and tragedy in Stockton

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Dave Brand in 2017 Dave Brand in 2017
Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand in 2007 Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand in 2007
Winona, MN (WXOW) - -

When former Winona County sheriff Dave Brand thinks back on August 2007 vivid memories come calling.

"We never believed something like this was going to happen," Brand said.

Brand was camping with his family near Albert Lea when what started as a typical summer storm got worse quickly.

"I kept in touch with dispatch."

So he took action and  "called out all the posse" through the area's Code Red System.

"We had everybody out, extra firemen and that sort of thing."

When he got back to the area, Brand called the scene a total disaster.

"I called the governor for mutual aid for the military to come in and help us keep order in the area and help us with moving people and rescuing people," said Brand.

While busy coordinating the response around the county and calling for mutual aid, Sheriff Brand was also focusing on some of the hardest hit areas, most notably in Stockton, about five miles West of Winona.

"Stockton is the worst," Brand said during a press conference back in 2007. "We had a house where witnesses said they had seen people on top of a house and when they went back to the house to try and rescue them, the house was gone and the people were gone."

The losses hit Brand hard.

"In Winona County, we had five people who passed away," he said. "Three of them I actually knew from where I lived, that I'd known many years."

But the man who spent 44 years in law enforcement has a personal motto "never give up." And it's something he takes that to heart.

"Think it over in my mind, I think, 'What should I have done differently or sooner.'"

And as the floodwaters receded into memory, Brand put his mind toward the positive.

"We keep up with being proactive, keeping emergency numbers of who can assist, so we can call immediately who we need."

A need that can arise at a moments notice, leaving an impact in its wake that's not likely forgotten.

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