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Longstanding Red Wing restaurant to reopen following devastating crash

RED WING, Minn. (FOX 47) -- In the same way hardly anyone expected a global pandemic this year, Doug Noreen didn't expect an SUV to plow into his family restaurant either.

An SUV plowed into Noreen's long-standing business at the beginning of the month. The damage was unthinkable.

"Blood, sweat and tears," Noreen said. "Everything you've worked for your whole life, falling in front of you is pretty devastating."

Three weeks later, Liberty's Restaurant and Lounge is looking better than it did the night of Sept. 3.

"I came down the night it happened, and it looked like a bomb went off," Red Wing Downtown Main Street Director Megan Tsui said. "We had no idea what was going to happen."

It was that uncertainty that prompted an outpouring of support. That night, Tsui went home and crafted a fundraising plan.

"Red Wing is a very community orientated community," she said. "When there is a need they step up and they step up in a big way."

Through online donations -- from Red Wing locals and beyond -- nearly $23,000 and counting has been raised. The group surpassed its goal of $15,000 in a matter of weeks.

"It's been emotional," Noreen said. "Very touching. It's really been helping me keep a positive outlook going forward."

"To see it behind me coming back to life, it is an amazing feat of engineering and skill and generosity, really, of so many people," Tsui said.

A feat revealing new beginnings on the horizon. Noreen got the blessing from the city to reopen. He hopes they'll be up and running Thursday, Oct. 1. Three of the five tenants who live upstairs were able to move back in. The hair salon in the building, "Snips" also reopened.

Next month, Liberty's Restaurant and Lounge will be celebrating 45 years in operation. Noreen is hoping to bring a positive spin to the situation by rebuilding the historic building to look more like it's original form. He's asking for anyone who may have an old photo to submit them on Facebook.

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Beret Leone

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