The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Rock star Bret Michaels and band lend hands at tornado-damaged Nebraska town

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PILGER, Neb. - Rock star Bret Michaels and his band rolled up their sleeves to help clean up a tornado-damaged Nebraska town and sign autographs for residents and other volunteers.

Michaels and company rolled into Pilger on Monday afternoon, a week after an EF4 tornado destroyed or damaged more than half of the northeastern Nebraska town, the Norfolk Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/Ts31d8 ). Two people were killed by the storm.

Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger took Michaels, his band and crew into the heavily damaged Pilger Middle School.

"I just got that lump," Michaels said, his hand on his throat, as he looked at the rubble. "Thinking about the children in this town, it takes your breath away."

He had no idea how badly the town of 350 was damaged, he said.

"It's one thing to see it on TV. But when you actually get out here, it's completely different. I've never seen anything like this in my life," Michaels said.

The former frontman of Poison signed autographs and offered comfort, hugs and handshakes to volunteers and residents.

Michaels and his band and crew members then started cleanup work on the home of Tim and Betty Maly. Besides the basement, not much was left.

Betty Maly was happy for the extra help, nonetheless.

"It's wonderful. You can't thank them enough. People take time out of their days off or use their spare time to come here. It's just unreal," Maly said.

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Information from: Norfolk Daily News, http://www.norfolkdailynews.com

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